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Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv



Thoughts about Torah, Family, Work, Politics, life in Modi'in, and anything else that comes to mind.



Updated: 2017-12-11T05:15:05.247+02:00

 



Symbols of the past

2017-08-21T12:18:20.646+03:00

There has been a lot of talk about the rise of neo-Nazis in the US, particularly around the horrific "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville on August 11, which culminated in a despicable act of terrorism as a white supremacist plowed his car into a group of counter-demonstrators.

With all the comments about whether Trump did or did not condemn the white supremacists enough (and he definitely should have spoken more strongly against them and their hate-filled ideology), I think that this rally proved how much of an insignificant non-entity these extremists are.

The rally was made of a variety of racist, hate-filled groups, and between them they only managed to get a few thousand people, hardly a threat to the mainstream American community, and even most the extremists were afraid to display recognizable symbols of hate like Nazi flags or KKK hoods.

Although there were a handful of Nazi flags on display, I think that there are more Swastika Flags at Yad Vashem than there were at this Rally, even the American Nazi Party no longer calls itself Nazi or uses a Swastika in its flag. Instead these hate groups have invented or adopted a series of new symbols that are not recognized by the mainstream. This by itself shows that they are afraid to show their true colours as they are aware that the American Public has zero sympathy for their cause.

Given that the trigger for that Rally was over the removal of symbols,  in this case a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee, prompting much debate about how America should relate to memorials from the Civil war, I think that the answer must be not to hide from history, rather to learn from it. Just as Yad Vashem and other Holocaust memorials display Nazi imagery so it can be recognized and learned from, the United States should use icons from the Civil War not only to commemorate those who died (on both sides), but to teach about the causes of the Civil war and the evil of slavery.

Videos of protesters gleefully knocking down historic monuments brings up images of countries who have broken free of an oppressive regime, or worse, of Muslim extremists destroying religious icons that they disagree with. Destroying and hiding from one's past is a lost opportunity to learn from it.

Similarly, we in Israel have a noble and respectable past that we Zionists should be proud of, however there are tragic events that we should not forget, both in what happened to us (massacres or expulsions from Hebron, Gush Etzion, or the Old City to name but a few), and tragedies that befell others in this area  (destruction of Arab Villages during the War of Independence or after the 6 Day War). We owe it to ourselves to not erase or forget history, but to learn from it.




Kotel For Everyone

2017-06-30T13:32:37.485+03:00

After listening and reading to non stop comments on the cancellation of the Kotel Agreement, and the impact it may have on the unity of the Jewish people, I thought that I should add my own 10 Agurot to the discussion.The Reform Leadership was insulted by the Israeli Government. This was a deliberate and calculated insult from the Charedi parties that have been politically fighting the Reform movement since it was created in Germany over a hundred years ago.However the insult was only aimed at the Reform Leadership. It does not impact Egalitarian prayer at the Kotel which as been happening since 2000 (actually much earlier) at the southern part of the Kotel, the area near Robinson's Arch in the foreground in the picture above (picture from 1865).Over the past 15 years, the prayer area by Robinson's Arch has been expanded considerably, and there are plans to further increase the size and accessibility of this area. The Masorati (Conservative) movement provides prayer books and Torah Scrolls in the area, and it is available for Bar or bat Mitzva ceremonies (http://masorti.org/the-western-wall/). This has not changed with the cancellation of the Kotel Agreement.What has changed is that the Reform leadership will not get government recognized rights over this area in the same way that the Orthodox Rabbinate are recognized as the administrators of the large Kotel Plaza immediately to the north or Robinson's Arch  (the area beyond the wooden supports in the picture above) .Quite rightly, the Reform leadership feel insulted, however I think that their response could be very damaging to their own membership.There have been reports that the Reform leadership are threatening to decrease political and financial support to Israel. This is very hurtful to Israel; although thank G-d Israel is less reliant on the political and financial support from the American Jewish Community (which is tiny compared to the Support Israel receives from non-Jewish groups like Christian Zionists), however the Reform Jews are our family, and is never nice when members of a family cut ties with one another.However, this cutting of ties could do serious damage to the Reform movement itself.One of the biggest challenges of Jewish communities abroad is how to keep their membership active and involved. Unfortunately many Reform Jews do not have a daily connection to Judaism, they do not keep kosher or Shabbat, many do not attend regular services, and many are not familiar with Jewish history, literature, and customs.One of the areas where many Reform Jews are still connected to the Jewish people is their support for Israel. The Reform leadership should be looking at ways to increase this connection, not because Israel needs it, or the Charedi parties love them, but for the sake of their own constituents.Instead of threatening to reduce ties with Israel, the response of the Reform leadership should be to show the world how important their connection to Israel and the Kotel is. They should encourage all their members to visit Israel regularly, they should try and get all families to consider the Kotel a far better location to celebrate a Bar Mitzva than an expensive events hall.If the Reform movement manged to bring thousands or tens of thousands of Bnei Mitzva and other groups to the Egalitarian Prayer area at the kotel every year, that would not only strengthen the connection of their own members to Israel and to the Jewish people, but would force the government to further increase the size and accessibility of this area, and give them a much stronger negotiating position next time the Kotel issue comes up before the government or court system.Lets hope that over the coming years Israel, Jerusalem, and the Kotel continue to serve as a source of unity for the Jewish People (in spite of our differences), and not an excuse to throw insults at one another[...]



Brachot for the Haftara

2017-05-08T22:15:31.289+03:00

I was trying to find a copy of the brachot to the Torah and Haftara (ברכות התורה והפטרה) in a format that could be printed out and laminated for the Bima in Shul.
Had trouble finding something suitable, so I put one together myself which I am sharing for anyone else that would find it useful.

This is nussach Ashkenaz, and the Brachot haftara include טעמיםץ
A PDF is available here.

If anyone spots an error or has suggestions how I could improve the formatting, please leave a comment.





Beyond a Two-State Solution

2016-08-12T14:46:50.897+03:00

I attended a very interesting even last night organized by Inon of البيت הבית HOME

There were a variety of speakers from very different backgrounds, both Israeli and Palestinian, trying to think out of the box to try to find solutions to the Arab-Israeli situation.

Interesting that there was a lot of common ground between most of the speakers. I think that most of the participants would agree that any solution would need to include the following points as non-negotiable:

  1. The "2 state solution" as it is currently being discussed is part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is used by the Israeli government as an excuse not to invest in the Palestinian territories (why would you invest in territory that will not be under your control in the future), and is used as an excuse by the Palestinian Authority to restrict development as all problems can be blamed on "The Occupation" which absolves the PA of taking responsibility.
  2. Any solution must guarantee full and equal rights for Palestinians, especially the right to travel and unrestricted access to work, schools, and medical facilities.
  3. Any solution must guarantee security for both Israelis and Palestinians, so that Israelis and Palestinians can visit each other, work together, as well as ride buses or go to sleep at night without fear of terrorism or unnecessarily violent military action.
    There should be zero tolerance for terrorism, or support for terrorism (such as paying families of terrorists or glorifying their actions), or for vigilantism (such as "Tag Machir")
  4. The refugee camps must be replaced with respectable housing for all descendants of the Palestinian refugees. 2 generations after what Palestinians refer to as "the Nakba", all people are entitled to a proper home with proper infrastructure.
  5. People should be free to live and travel wherever they want. That means that Jews should have rights to live in Chevron, Beit Lechem, or Ramalla, and Palestinians should have rights to live in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Modi'in.
  6. Jews and Palestinians need to learn to listen to each other's narrative, and respect the fact that we may not perceive history or the current reality in the same light.
I'm sure that not everyone will agree with all the points above, and some of them seem to be contradictory (can we have unrestricted freedom of movement yet maintain complete security?) And I'm sure that there are other non-negotiable points that would be acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians that could be added to this list. Feel free to leave a comment.




Hillary Clinton - would she be that bad for Israel

2016-03-02T21:55:39.801+02:00

As some people may have noticed, the United States is holding some type of reality show where the winner gets to be the leader of the free world.Unfortunately, due to a glitch in the democratic process, one of the candidates may turn out to be a Flesh Eating Lizard. This would leave rational voters with only 2 choices, stay home on election day or vote for former First Lady Hilary Clinton.Anyone who knows me knows that I am no big fan of Mrs Clinton (or the Democratic Party in general) and I can't comment on her (lack of) honesty or political scandals. As I am not American, my opinion on the US economy or health care or gun rights are not relevant, however as an Israeli who will be directly effected by the foreign policy of the US Government, I think I have the right to share my 2 cents on Mrs Clinton's attitude to the conflict in our little corner of the world.(As an aside, I believe that all the Republican Candidates other than Trump would be better for Israel and better for America than Hillary or Bernie, and I still don't believe that Trump will win the nomination, so the odds are come November we will see the election of a President Cruz or President Rubio - however on the off chance that Trump does win the nomination, we will almost certainly see President Clinton with Bill as First Lady, these thoughts are on Hillary's policy towards Israel, not whether she has any chance of winning the election)Firstly, let me say that I don't really trust any politicians, especially not Hillary, so whatever she says may have little bearing on her policies. That said, I was surprisingly impressed with her policy outline described by Arutz 7 (Arutz 7 was highly critical of her plans).According to Arutz 7, in leaked emails Hillary has an outline of a plan which includes concrete steps for Israel and the PA. This is a massive departure from other world leaders who repeat slogans like "Israel must stop construction in the West Bank and work towards a 2 state solution"Almost everyone knows that in the current climate the chance of a peaceful 2 state solution is below zero. More chance of the Chinese accepting the Pope as their next leader than a peaceful Palestinian State alongside Israel.However, Hillary's emails outlined steps that could be taken by both sides to increase normalization and trust between Israel and the PA, which may slowly point us in the direction of a future peace agreement (there are a lot of big "if"s in there)According to Arutz 7, Clinton is expected to make the following demands of the PA:The PA would be asked to stop incitement against IsraelThe PA and Israel [are] to organize classroom forums bringing together Israeli and PA students to help nurture mutual understanding.The PA would be required to put Israel on government-issued maps, and the historical Jewish connection with Jerusalem “acknowledged”.The PA [must undertake] more permanent housing for refugee campsAnti-corruption efforts in the PA legal justice system.These are all excellent suggestions, although they could all be expanded on.Incitement must be stopped at all levels including schools, mosques and the media. Classroom forums would help to bring Israelis and PA students together, but in addition there could be many other forums including sports, music, science, where Israelis and Palestinians work together on a common goal which is not related to the conflict.The PA recognizing Israel as a Jewish country is essential for negotiations, just as Israel has (and needs to continue to) recognize the rights of the Palestinian People to self determination.Permanent housing for refugees and anti-corruption measures are also essential steps needed by the PA.The Arutz 7 article was very vague about what Israel would have to do in return according to Hillary's Plan. According to the article:Israel, on the other hand, would, in the framework of some larger agreement, be expected to make a number of serious concessions, including the creation[...]



My thoughts on the Rabbanut

2015-09-04T11:59:11.463+03:00

Lately a lot of opinion writers have asked why be need a chief Rabbi or government recognized Rabbanut in Israel. For example, earlier this week, Isi Leibler wrote in the Jerusalem Post that the State Endorsed Rabbinical Leadership should be disbanded.(Full disclosure: I live in Modi'in,  and regularly attend shiurim from Chief Rabbi Lau, and a lot of my opinion is based on comments or observations I have heard from him)One of the common misnomers is that the Rabbanut doesn't represent anybody, not the Charedim, not the secular, and not even the National Religious community.This is simply not true. It is true that most Charedim do not respect the institution of the Chief Rabbanut, in much the same way they don't respect many Zionist institutions, however in the Religious Zionist world, there is a strong segment which not only respects the institution of the Chief Rabbanut, but regards it as a critical corner stone of Zionism and the redemptive process.Rabbi Gil Student has an excellent article on the topic, here is a key quote:Religious Zionists, particularly among the Chardal, see the Chief Rabbinate in messianic terms. We pray three times a day in the Amidah for the return of the centralized religious judicial system. The Chief Rabbinate is not the fulfillment of that prayer but its precursor. It represents a step in the flowering of the Redemption. Seen in those terms, undermining the Chief Rabbinate is forestalling Mashiach. In other words, while it is true that in Galut, each shtetle, community, or congregation appointed its own rabbi (although many cities and countries also had a Government-recognized Chief Rabbi), now that we are building a Jewish nation, just like we have a centralized, government-recognized Jewish army, police force, court system, education system, medical system, postal system etc, we should have a recognized Rabbanut. This was the vision of Rav Kook when he established the Rabbanut before the state.None of these government institutions are perfect, many need restructuring or fixing, however there is a difference between fixing a poorly run government institution, and calling for it to be disbanded.In addition to the ideological principle of having a single uniting rabbanut, there are practical advantages.Having a centralized record of marriage and divorce is of enormous benefit. If you have ever met a Ba'al Tshuva from Chutz L'Aretz trying to determine whether he is Jewish according to Halacha you would understand why.If the person comes from England, or any other country with a centralized Rabbanut, provided that their parents or grandparents had a Jewish wedding registered through the Rabbanut (and the vast majority of UK Jews do, even today), it is very easy to get a copy of the Ketuba and details of the Rabbi who conducted the wedding and verify their halachic status.In contrast, with a Jews from the US, unless they know exactly where and when their grandparents got married, and the Rabbi or community where the grandparents got married is still around and maintains accurate records, it is extremely difficult, and some times even impossible to confirm their halachic status 2 generations later.There are many other areas where we benefit from a government recognized and funded rabbanut.In Chutz La'retz Jewish services such as burial, eruv, mikva, marriage registration, and beit din, if they exist at all are privately funded by a congregation, and often individuals who are not members of a congregation are denied these services; many Jews belong to a congregation just so they are entitled to a Jewsih Burial.Here in the Jewish State almost every city has an eruv, every Jew is entitled to be buried according to Halacha, and there is a Beit Din or Possek available to everyone. Who would be responsible for maintaining these services if we did not have a recognized Beit Din.With regard to marriage. Personally I am in favour of recognizing civil[...]



Response from Mr McCully

2015-07-07T13:48:06.835+03:00

Yesterday I received a response from the Right Honourable Mr McCully.

Nothing new or surprising in his response, he just repeats that instead of looking for new or creative approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (such as promoting peaceful interaction between Israelis and Palestinians), he will repeat the tried and failed method of meaningless gestures in the UN Security Council.

Given that there was zero chance that New Zealand would have advanced the cause of peace, the fact that he is only going through the motions and not attempting to come up with new or creative solutions to the issue can't further increase New Zealand's irrelevancy to the situation.

Anyway, in the interests of full disclosure, here is the full text of the letter from the right honourable minister:
6 JUL 2015
Michael Sedley

Dear Michael Sedley
Thank you for your email of 3 June 2015 regarding the current position of the New Zealand government in relation to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
New Zealand pursues a balanced and constructive approach to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. New Zealand supports a negotiated two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side by side, in peace and security.
Given the threat the conflict poses to international peace and security, we believe the Security Council has a role to play in the Middle East Peace Process. We are assessing the best approach for its next steps, including the possibility of working on a United Nations Security Council resolution.
Yours sincerely


Han Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs





Welcome Mr McCully

2015-06-02T16:40:37.190+03:00

As New Zealand gets ready to sit at the head of the head of the UN Security Council next month, Foreign Minister Murray McCully is visiting this part of the world.Following is a letter that I sent to the Right Honourable Minister:Hon Murray McCully,Minister of Foreign AffairsDear Minister,Haere mai, Bruchim Haba’im, and welcome to IsraelAs a New Zealand citizen currently residing in Israel, I was initially pleased to read that the New Zealand Government is taking an active interest in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian authority.However, according to media reports, instead of encouraging Israelis and Palestinians to work together towards living in peace, the New Zealand may back or even draft a UN resolution which will try to impose a solution from outside.As a relatively new player to the Israel-Palestinian negotiations, New Zealand has the unique opportunity to propose or suggest new approaches, instead of rehashing proposals that have been repeatedly tried and failed over the past 20 years.Since the Oslo Accords in 1993, all proposals have focused on borders, refugees, and security concerns. What has been overlooked is actual peaceful relations between citizens of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.Although Chapter 4 of the Oslo Accords did discuss cooperation, including educating children towards peace, there has been almost no effort to enforce or encourage this. If you look at changes to the Palestinian textbooks since 1993, you would be hard-pressed to find any effort to encourage Palestinian children to live in peace with their Israeli neighbours.In fact, as governments have spent 20 years discussing possible borders and security arrangements, personal peaceful interaction between Israelis and Palestinians has become more and more difficult. Tragically the negotiating process is actually discouraging normalization between Palestinians and Israelis. The result is that we have a whole generation of children on both sides of the conflict who have never met people on the other side, and have grown up in an environment of fear and violence.In this environment, even if the representatives of both people could come to an agreement, or the UN or other world body could impose a solution, the chances that the agreement would lead to peace between people or a reduction in fear, hatred, and violence is almost zero.If New Zealand wants to bring new ideas to the table, and really advance the cause of peace, could I suggest that instead of focusing on government-level negotiations or external proposals that are sure to fail, and may lead to another escalation in violence, maybe the New Zealand Government could use its influence to encourage interaction between individuals, particularly children.Maybe the New Zealand Government could look for ways to encourage joint educational, cultural, sports, economic, or other interaction between Israeli and Palestinians. New Zealand is a sports-loving nation, and knows the impact that sports can have on a child’s development. If the New Zealand Government was to sponsor sporting events, concerts, or cultural events that bring Israeli and Palestinian children together in a peaceful, non-threatening environment, this would help to plant seeds of peace.If the New Zealand government found a way to encourage joint economic ventures between Israelis and Palestinians, the entrepreneurs in these ventures would have a personal interest in maintaining peaceful relationship and free access between business partners on the other side of a future border.These personal relationships would do more for the cause of peace than a discussion over which neighbourhoods in Jerusalem should be banned for Jews, or how many guns the Palestinian police force should be allowed, or who should control the border check-points in a future Palestinian state.Thank you for your time,Sha[...]



Death of Innocence

2014-11-10T22:13:00.167+02:00

The third Intifada has claimed another victim, a few minutes ago, the 20 year old soldier who was attacked in Tel Aviv earlier today succumbed to his injuries and returned his soul to his Maker, ה' יקום דמו

This young soldier was the son of one of my daughter's teachers.

When Yael went to bed a few hours ago, she asked whether her teacher Michal would be in school tomorrow, whether her son would be OK, how he was so badly hurt, and why did someone want to hurt him. She also said that she is afraid - maybe it could happen to her.

As a father, she thinks that I am supposed to have answers, that I should know why a young soldier was murdered today for being Jewish, or why a young woman from Tekoa was murdered, or families waiting at a train station, or passengers on a train or a bus, or teenagers on their way home from school are being murdered - all for the same crime - of being Jewish.

Instead of answers, I only have questions - how could we allow terrorists to walk freely in our county? How is it that our police and security forces can't restore security to the streets of Israel? Why is it that after all these years Eisav (and Yishma'el) still hates Ya'akov.

Now I need to decide how to break this news to my daughter, whether to take her to her teacher's Shiva, whether to tell her about the dozens of other attacks that are occurring on a daily basis. How do you explain that to a 11 year old girl?

May Hashem grant the courage and wisdom to our leaders and armed forces to find the way to stop this Intifada before it continues to grow, and to bring peace and quiet to this tiny beautiful land of ours.




Reflections on Bicycles, Yom Kippur, and Religious Coercion

2014-10-05T14:45:56.421+03:00

One of the uniquely Israeli aspects of Yom Kippur is the association of bicycles with Yom Kippur.
While in other parts of the world, Jews associate Yom Kippur with prayer, fasting, long prayer services, and maybe repentance and atonement, in Israel many Israelis associate the day with bicycles.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to YouTube and search for "bicycles Yom kippur").
There are several religious practices observed by almost all Jewish Israelis, for example, I would estimate that over 90% of Jewish Israelis do the following:
  • Place a Mezuza on their front door
  • Give their sons a Brit Mila
  • Attend some type of Passover Seder
  • Refrain from driving on Yom Kippur
There are probably rituals with almost universal observance in Israel, but the above sprung to mind. If you can think of others, please leave a comment.
Interesting that if you made a similar list of ritual practiced by Jews outside Israel, the first 3 items would probably be in the list, but not the last
One of the interesting things about these observances is that none of them are required by law - there is no law in Israel that you must place a mezuza on your door, or circumcise you son, or not drive on Yom Kippur - yet almost all Israelis do this for cultural, historic, or religious reasons.
In spite of regular complaints about "religious coercion", there is very little ritual that is mandated by law in Israel, the only examples I could think of are:
  • No public transport on Shabbat
  • Forbidden to display Chametz for sale during Pessach
  • All Jewish weddings must be conducted through the Rabbanut
(Again, if you can think of areas where religious observance is mandated by law, leave a comment).
What is interesting is that the legally-mandated ritual is less widely observed than the first list above. There are more Jewish Israelis that get married outside the Rabbanut than there are who drive on Yom Kippur.
To me, this is evidence that you cannot legislate religion. Israel is a Jewish country, and all Jewish Israelis will observe mitzvot that are meaningful or culturally significant to them; but you cannot force people to keep mitzvot. In fact, I would imagine that if the Knesset passed a law making it illegal to drive on Yom Kippur, the following year a number of people would make a point of driving, just to show that knesset has no business telling them how to be Jewish - and they would be right, miztva observance is between you and your Maker, not between you and your legislator.

G'mar Chatima Tova and Chag Sameach to all my readers




י-ה רבון עלם - G-d, Master of the World...

2014-07-30T15:41:00.012+03:00

Suggestion for this Shabbat (I know it's only Wednesday)...As our soldiers have returned to Gaza, where they will spend Shabbat in the most miserable of conditions, in honour of one of Gaza's most famous residents, maybe people should include "Kah Ribon" in their Friday Night Zmirot, even people (like my family), that don't always sing Zmirot on Shabbat.Kah Ribon was written by Rabbi Israel b. Moses Najara, who lived in Gaza city in the 16th Century. At that time, Gaza hosted a vibrant Jewish Community, and Rabbi Najara wrote poetry there, and was buried there after his death in 1625. I don't know whether anything remains of the Jewish Cemetery of Gaza, but until recently there were remains of the ancient synagogues of Gaza (I don't know what remains since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip 9 years ago).The first letter of the 5 verses in Kah Ribon spell the word ישראל - ISRAEL, which was Rabbi Najara's given name, but is also the name of our nation and our land.The song is in Aramaic, a language they say is so holy, that even the angels don't understand it - a language which we use to communicate directly with the Master of all Worlds.As the song says:אֱלָ-הָא דִי לֵיהּ,     יְקַר וּרְבוּתָאפְּרוֹק יַת עָנָךְ,    מִפּוּם אַרְיְוָתָאוְאַפֵּיק יַת עַמֵּךְ,     מִגּוֹ גָּלוּתָאעַמֵּךְ דִי בְחַרְתְּ,     מִכָּל אֻמַּיָּאO God to whom belongs glory and power,Save your sheep from the mouth of lions,Take your people from the nation of their exile,The people that you chose from all the nations.[...]



Failing to Condemn Evil

2014-07-23T22:20:36.511+03:00

Earlier today a New Zealand organization that represents Jews, Christians, and Muslim leaders came out with the following media release calling for peace:MEDIA RELEASENZ Jews, Christians, and Muslims United in Call for PeaceWellington, 23 July 2014Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Wellington issued a joint statement today regarding the current conflict in Gaza and Israel:“We call upon all of the parties involved in the current conflict in Gaza and Israel to cease hostilities, and sit down at the negotiating table and do the hard work necessary to obtain a just and lasting peace. We urge all New Zealand Jews, Christians, and Muslims to pray for peace.”Dave Moskovitz, Jewish Co-Chair, Wellington Council of Christians and JewsJenny Chalmers, Christian Co-Chair, Wellington Council of Christians and JewsSultan Eusoff, CEO, Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand On the surface, this media release sounds like a wonderful thing, what could be better than Jews, Christians, and Muslims calling for peace.The first problem is that it is totally meaningless. It does not suggest any realistic solutions to the problem, Hamas have made it clear that they have no desire to sit and negotiate over a "just and lasting peace", and even if they did - there would be no reason for Israel to trust or believe them as Hamas has stated repeatedly that they intend to keep fighting until every Jew is Dead.But besides being a meaningless statement, there is a bigger problem, a council of religious representatives organizations, who should be moral examples for their adherents, seem unable or unwilling to recognize evil when it is staring them in the face.Hamas is an evil organization. It is founded on hatred, preaches hatred, rejoices when children are killed, and does everything in its power to kill as many people as possible. And proudly states that. This is pure evil.To make this evil even worse, they do it in their name of their religion.You don't hav eto take my word for the fact that Hamas is evil. It is clearly visible in statements and videos released by Hamas and their supporters, and is stated explicitly in the Hamas charter.When religious leaders, such as the council of Christians, Muslims, and Jews are confronted with evil in the name of religion, they should be the first ones to stand up and say that this evil is a perversion of their religious teachings and they totally condemn it.When Jews do horrible things, such as the savages that murdered an Arab teenager 2 weeks ago, the entire Jewish world, right wing, left wing, religious, and secular expressed revulsion. They made it clear that these individuals in no way represented Judaism, or Jewish teaching, and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The Israeli authorities quickly apprehended them, and they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.Now we have an organization that is firing rockets from schools, hospitals, and heavily populated civilian buildings. The stated purpose of these rocket attacks is to kill as many people as possible, and the celebrate when anyone is killed. And they claim that this is what their religion teaches.I would have expected the Muslim representatives in the council of Christians, Muslims, and Jews to be the first to stand up and say - this is not Islam! Islam is a religion of Peace that totally rejects killing innocent people.If they are unable to stand up and say that, if they are unable to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, then general statements about how we should all pray for peace are not only meaningless, they show a moral vacuum.And before anyone starts leaving comments about how the Israelis have killed civilians, gunned down children playing, kill children for plea[...]



Daddy Come Home

2014-07-22T14:56:44.135+03:00

This is not a new video, however it seems to be relevant far too often, including right now.



I have several neighbors who have been called up in the past few days, and left their kids and wife to hope and pray that their Daddy will come home soon...



allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="270" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AO9rg4Zmb1A" width="480">



May the Holy One guard and protect all our soldiers and bring them home safely to their families, once they have successfully freed Israel and the Palestinians of the thugs who currently control Gaza.



Don't uproot what has been planted

2014-07-21T18:38:09.783+03:00

As our soldiers are heading back into the Gaza Strip, now is a good time to remember the Jewish Communities of Gush Katif and the Northern Gaza Strip.In 2005, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, we left behind the infrastructure of 21 beautiful communities.Although the people were evicted from their homes, and their houses were bulldozed, the roads and some infrastructure was left intact, including the wonderful horticulture business which produced vegetables and flowers which were exported all over Europe.We handed over a man-made Paradise to the people of Gaza. What did they do with these beautiful communities? Using the Satellite View in Google Maps, you can see what is left of these communities - take a look at the links below to see the desolate wasteland dotted with roads and empty greenhouses in what was once some of the most beautiful communities in Israel.BedolahBnei Atzmon Gadid Gan OrGanei TalKatifKerem AtzmonaKfar Darom Kfar YamMorag Netzer Hazani Neve Dekalim Pe'at SadehRafiah YamShirat HaYamSlav Tel KatifaDugit Elei Sinai Nisanit Netzarim[...]



Baruch Dayan Haemet

2014-07-20T19:18:33.223+03:00

ברוך דיין האמת

More soldiers died today defending our land.

When the land offensive started, we knew that there was a high chance that some of our precious sons (and daughters) would not come home, but at least they know that they died in a just cause - if there ever was a just, ethical war - this is it.

May G-d grant our army strength to continue in their mission and guard and protect them from all further harm. And may He grant the wisdom and courage in our leaders to continue to do what's right, and to finish this operation so that the citizens of Israel are no longer under threat of a murderous terrorist regime.

We should keep our thoughts and prayers with our soldiers.

There is a new web site that tells you how many days, hours and minutes Israel has been "Rocket Free"

As of this writing, Israel has been "Rocket Free" for just over half an hour. I hope that by the end of this operation, we will measure the time that Israel has been rocket free in years, not minutes.

There were many times in History when Jewish Blood ran freely, and no one lifted a finger to help us - that period of history is over.



How do you say "Chutzpa" in British?

2014-07-18T12:51:30.371+03:00

This has got to be one of the most disgusting videos I have ever seen (waning, may cause nausea or vomiting)

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For people unaware, Britain has been involved in the wars in Afghanistan (about 20,000 Civilian deaths) and Iraq (only about 5000 civilian deaths) yet neither Afghanistan nor Iraq has fired a single rocket at London, not even a tiny Gad B at Leeds. The citizens of Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, and all other British towns and cities have not experienced a single rocket (well not since WWII), they don't have air raid sirens, bomb shelters, or traumatized children anywhere in the UK - yet Britain has been involved in many military campaigns throughout the world.

The British army has never called the enemy to say exactly where they will bomb, doesn't drop warning leaflets or put its soldiers at risk to protect enemy civilians.

Yet members of the British Parliament have the Chutzpa to stand up and lecture Israel about international Law and Human Rights.
Is it only a breach of International Law if Israel is involved? Why have these parliamentarians singles out the Jewish State for criticism? Do they think that Jews have less right to defend themselves than other people?

Well guess what - Jews have thousands of years experience being the target of hostile enemies who say openly that they want us dead. For 2000 years we have sat quietly while we were massacred across Europe, including several times in England. We got tired of being the world's punching bag. If someone attacks us, they can now expect us to stand up an defend ourselves. And if that is offensive to members of Her Majesty's Government, well personally - I couldn't care less.

And by the way - one of the honorable MPs described Gaza as the "World's Biggest Prison" I just checked a map - the British Isles seem like a much bigger Prison (By "prison" I assume you mean "Independent territory surrounded by sea or a border") , the Government in Westminster may not be as ruthless as the Hamas Government is Gaza, and although they both seem to lack moral clarity, Hamas are still much worse - however I am prepared to bet that the food is better in the Gazan prison, and they get free health care from Israel which is surely better than the British health system, so I guess all is not lost.

(BTW - while writing this post, the radio announced a least 10 "Code Red" alerts, I'll post a video of the British parliament condemning that as soon as it is available -but don't hold your breath)





What Should Israel's End Game be?

2014-07-15T12:37:09.064+03:00

The news this morning is abuzz with talk of a cease fire which was supposed to have taken place 3 hours ago (and counting). Israel accepted the 12 hour cease fire; Hamas, true to their word, didn't - and have continued to fire rockets at Israeli towns.Now that Israel has given Hamas an opportunity to finish the current round of fighting, assuming that they don't stop firing, Israel should make it very clear what it plans to do after the 12 hours are up, and that is to undo the damage caused to Israel's security situation by the Withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.I'm not sure whether long term Israel should have stayed in Gaza or not (Gush Katif had some of the most beautiful towns and beaches that I've seen anywhere in this country), but I am sure that the time and manner in which we withdrew from Gaza in 2005 sent a loud and clear message to the Palestinians that violence and terrorism works, and if they increase terrorism and rockets, not to mention kidnappings, there will only be further concessions from Israel.To undo the damage from the Gaza Withdrawal, Israel must announce that at the end of the 12 hour cease fire, Israel will reconquer the Gaza Strip and reinstate a full occupation of the territory.Israel should state that it has no intention to permanently occupy the Gaza Strip, and will not rebuild civilian institutions, however the army will retain full control of the territory until we have complete quiet for a period of 2 years.Hamas can choose when Israel ends the occupation; it will be 2 years after the last rocket is fired into Israel. At the end of the 2 years of quiet, Israel will start a gradual withdrawal, the timing of which will depend on whether there is an agreement with the Palestinian leadership (which would mean a quick, smooth withdrawal), or the withdrawal is unilateral, which would mean that it would be in stages, and after each stage to wait a period to confirm that quiet is maintained before continuing to the next phase.This would give Hamas complete control over when and how Israel withdraws from Gaza, and an incentive to stop rocket fire.While the IDF are in Gaza, they should make sure every effort to prevent attacks against both our civilians and soldiers. This would include a full presence along the Philadelphi corridor to stop arms smuggling from Egypt, complete control over land and sea ports to inspect all imports, and dividing the Gaza strip into three separate areas. Each area should be governed by separate rules based on how quiet it is - for example, if there are a lot of attacks coming out of the North of Gaza Strip, there may need to be curfews or limit of travel within that area. If the Southern Gaza strip is quieter, we should encourage and assist them in rebuilding infrastructure in that area.During the hopefully short term re-occupation of the Gaza Strip, Israel should see what it can do to improve the quality of life and economy of Gaza. For example, Israel could build a military hospital, which could also serve civilian needs for the local population, maybe even including a medical school to train new Gazan doctors, so Palestinians do not need to travel to Israel for medical care.If the Southern Gaza Strip is quiet, maybe bring in some of the experts who designed the greenhouses in Gush Katif to reestablish them under Gazan ownership so that the Gazans can grow flowers and vegetables which could be exported to Israel instead of rockets.Would the idea work - no idea, but unless Israel articulates a detailed plan how to stop Hamas from attacking our civilians, even after the current round of fighting is finished, we will still have regular attacks aga[...]



0 Comments

2014-07-07T09:04:28.807+03:00

I fully agree with and endorse the open letter of condemnation posted on the Elder of Zion blog.

We unequivocally condemn the horrific murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. It was unjustifiable under any circumstances. The killing was reprehensible and we hope that the criminals who did this sickening act are found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Israel is a country run by the rule of law. There are reports that Jews have been arrested for this crime. If a trial finds that Jews are indeed guilty of this unconscionable killing, our condemnation is redoubled. The idea that Jews could do such an act fills us with shame and horror.

The people who murdered Mohammed do not represent us in any way. It is not enough to dissociate ourselves from the dreadful act; we must also ensure that crimes like this are never repeated.

Just as the appalling murders of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar do not in any way justify the hideous murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, neither does Khdeir's murder justify the violence, terrorism, destruction and incitement we have seen over the past few days against Israelis and Jews.

We hope and pray that everyone, Arab and Jew, lives in peace and security in the region.

Signed,

Between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv





Compare and Contrast

2014-07-06T10:16:48.016+03:00

The media has been filled in recent days by the response to the horrific murders of "our Boys" (Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal הי"ד) and the subsequent equally horrific murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.  The response to these two acts of barbarianism is a good opportunity to compare values in Jewish and Arab society.So with flashbacks to 6th form English, here is my essay on "Compare and Contrast the response to murders in the Holy land"Murder of Gilad, Eyal, and NaftaliWhat Happened: Three teenagers were kidnapped and murdered on their way home from school.The Perpetrators: Members of Hamas.Why were they killed: Because they were Jewish.Response of the Palestinian Leadership:  Palestinian Authority issued a belated condemnation, Hamas denied responsibility but said that they supported the action.Response of the Palestinian People: Wide spread celebration including handing out candies in the street and the infamous 3-fingered salute. Large number of rockets fired at civilian targets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Anti-Semitic cartoons in the PA-controlled Palestinian press.Response of World Leaders: Mild commendation and calls on Israel for restraint.Response of the Israeli Leadership: Condemnation of the act, and swift action to try to locate the kidnapped teenagers, which included a curfew on the areas where the perpetrators were believed to be hiding and the arrest of several hundred members of Hamas.Response of the Israeli People: When the boys were reported missing: massive prayer rallies and calls to increase good deeds; When the boys were found dead: tears and massive attendance at the funerals. There were limited calls for revenge which were widely condemned by religious and political leaders. There were also demonstrations in favour of unity and peace with the Palestinian People.Murder of Muhammad Abu KhdeirWhat Happened: A teenager was murdered on his way to morning prayers at a local mosque.The Perpetrators: Unknown at this stage; one theory is that it is a revenge killing, other possibilities are that it was a family "honour-killing".Why was he killed: Unknown at this stageResponse of the Palestinian Leadership: Immediate condemnation.Response of the Palestinian People: Massive violent rioting across the country, including massive damage of property throughout Jerusalem, including attacks against people in Northern and Southern Jerusalem, the torching of a UN vehicle near Armon HaNatziv. Riots in the Galilee, and a large number of rockets fired at civilian targets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Anti-Semitic editorials in the PA-controlled Palestinian press, including Blood Libel (claims that the boy was murdered for use in Jewish religious ritual).Response of World Leaders: Immediate strong commendation.Response of the Israeli Leadership: Swift action to try to locate the perpetrators and strong condemnation of the murder. Public statements from political leaders across the spectrum condemning violence or calls for revenge.Response of the Israeli People: Strong condemnation of the murder. and calls to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Public statements from religious leaders (including the Chief Rabbi) condemning violence or calls for revenge.I'd also like to mention the murder of Omaima JaradatWhat Happened: A 16 year old Arab Girl was murdered by her uncle for "disgracing family honour".The Perpetrators: The girl's uncle.Why was she killed: "Disgracing family honour"Response of the Palestinian Leadership:&nbs[...]



16 Years and 16 Days

2014-06-30T22:20:24.154+03:00

The past 16 days in our little country were 16 days like no other that I can remember.
For 16 days our entire country was united in prayer - there was no religious or secular, no right-wing or left-wing just a nation united in prayer, in hope, and in worry.

A nation glued to the news, hoping to hear the news that was never to come.

A nation that constantly had the the words בשרות טובות on our lips - a wish for good news that was never to come.
A nation that always had the names and images of the three boys on their lips, always wondering where were our boys, Naftali, Gil-ad, and Elad (הי"ד). A nation that spent a few extra minutes hugging their children before they set out in the morning and when they came home safely at the end of the day.

And then, on the 17th day, while the country was celebrating the end of the school year and start of Summer vacation, our small nation was shattered with the news that we all feared would come, but had tried to put out of our mind - that our three young boys will never come home from school, their plans for the Summer vacation, and for next year and beyond will never come to pass.

My youngest son is Amichai, - עמי-חי - My nation lives. He is 5 years old.
Tonight as I put Amichai to bed he looked at me and asked if it was true that our three boys were now in גן עדן - in the Garden of Eden? He stopped and thought about what he had just said, and then asked with a child's innocence - "does this mean that they will never grow old"?
Before going to sleep, he insisted on saying another chapter of Psalms - I said to him that we no longer need to say Psalms to bring the boys home - "I know" he said, "but can we say Psalms anyway for the boys' mothers, so that they know that we are still thinking of them and they won't be sad". So together Amichai and I recited Psalms 130 - שיר המעלות ממעמקים קראתיך ה - "A song of Ascent - out of the depths have I cried to You HaShem", words that even a child of 5 has said so many times over the past 2 weeks that he knew them by heart.

Master of the Universe - Your children have cried enough, please now is the time to wipe away our tears.....


המקום ינחם אתנו בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים ולא תוסיפו לדאבה עוד



Three Yellow Ribbons

2014-06-19T19:51:53.127+03:00

#bringbackourboys 
#EyalGiladNaftali

Tony Orlando calls on fans and supporters of Israel to tie three yellow ribbons in solidarity with our three boys.... I'm setting a flag with three ribbons as my Facebook profile picture.

Please G-d bring our boys home soon...

source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/181914

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Follow up on My App Idea - App For Drivers

2014-06-18T09:19:15.082+03:00

#bringbackourboys
#EyalGiladNaftali

As a follow up to my idea yesterday for an App to keep trempistim safe by checking up on them every ten minutes, there could be a parallel database of registered drivers prepared to pick up trempistim.

Drivers would not be able register themselves, they would have to be registered by a recognized authority such as the Katzin Bitachon of a yishuv, a community Rabbi, or local police station.
Once registered, drivers receive an identification code.

When a driver stops to pick up a trempist, the trempist would ask the driver for his code, the App then sends the trempist a photo of the registered driver, and confirms that the driver's phone is adjacent to the trempist's phone and it is safe to travel together. The App would then no longer need to send a check-up message every ten minutes.
An added benefit would be that the trempist would have details of the person who gave him a ride, for example if he left something in the car it would be easy for the driver and trempist to contact each other.

Another possible option would be to allow drivers to enter their destination when they set out on a journey. The App could notify them of a trempist in the area looking for a ride in the same direction. This would save trempistim needing to hold signs with their destination written and would save drivers stopping at every trempiada to ask if anyone is heading their way.

You could easily gameify it by giving drivers points every time they pick up a trempist.

Another feature of the app could be do store travel data, similar to Ways and provide trempistim useful information for example, the average time waiting for a tremp at a particular tzomet at that time of day, suggested routs if they will need more than one tremp to get home, and even information about the location of a register driver heading to their destination.

This would make tremping quicker and safer for both drivers and trempistim.

So that's my idea - anyone see any potential problems with it or way to improve it?
Anyone have the knowledge or resources to get it developed?



Idea for an App to keep Trempistim Safe

2014-06-17T22:09:45.467+03:00

#bringbackourboys#EyalGiladNaftaliSince Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali went missing on Thursday night, there has been a debate on the safety of Tremping in Israel.Since I first came to Israel over 25 years ago, one of the things that impressed me about Israeli society was the culture of tremping, the idea that we are all one big family and are all looking out for each other. When I was in Yeshiva in Efrat I regularly traveled by tremp, and now that I have my own car, whenever possible I pick up trempistim.During the Oslo War when there were many tragic bus bombings, no one suggested that we should stop all buses in Israel, rather people said that we have to find ways to make buses safer. Similarly now, it has been encouraging that people are discussing ways to make tremping safer. Life in Israel is reporting that there is a new Moked for emergencies in Yehuda-Shomron (1208), I also saw a new app today with a panic button in case of emergency.These solutions are important and all trempistim should be aware of them. The problem is that it is a safe assumption that if someone is abducted, one of the first things the captors would do would be to get rid of the trempist’s cell phone, possibly before they have a chance to place an emergency call.Here is my idea for an app that would help keep trempistim safe. I am not a developer and have no idea what would be involved in creating such an app, if you have the ability to create the app, feel free to take my idea.The app would work as follows -Trempistim would register to use the app and select codes (as described below).When a tempist sets out on a journey he (or she) logs in and says what Tzomet they are tremping from and where there destination is. When they get home safely, or get dropped off at a different tzomet closer to their destination, they log in with their new current location, or report that they arrived safely and log out.From the time that the trempist logs onto the system, they receive a message every 10 minutes asking them how they are. Each time they get a message they have one minute to reply with a code that they set up for one of the following responses:- I'm still waiting at the tzomet for a temp- I'm safely in a tremp traveling towards my destination- I am safely at my destination, please log me outFor each of these responses, if they enter a code one digit off, it sends an emergency signal.If they don't respond within 1 minute the app automatically sends an emergency signal.This means that an emergency signal would be sent out within 10 minutes of an abduction, even if the phone has been disposed of, but there would be no indication on the phone that a signal was sentWhen an emergency signal is sounded, the app automatically contacts any other trempistim who were logged in from the same area, as well as contacting registered volunteers who are within a 5 km area of the trempist.Volunteers would have to register in advance, but would include not only army vehicles and police, but the private security officers in each Yishuv, Hatzalah, ambulances, and other emergency services as well as volunteer citizens.Volunteers in the area would initially be instructed to try to locate the phone. It is possible that the distress code was entered by mistake or the phone was accidentally dropped or broken which is why the trempist didn't respond. Volunteers would have an “all Clear” code that they can enter if they can confirm that all is well.If the phone is found abandoned, o[...]



Tfilla for our boys

2014-06-17T22:10:15.204+03:00

#bringbackourboys#EyalGiladNaftaliThe Rishon L'Tzion, former chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar composed the following prayer for the captured teenagers, may Hashem bring them home safe soon.Source: Srugimתפילה להצלתם של הבחורים החטופיםלִקְרֹא מִזְמוֹר שִיר לַמַעֲלוֹת אֶשָֹּא עֵינַי (קכ), וְשִיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְדָוִד לוּלֵי ה' שֶהָיָה לָנוּ (קכד):מזמור ק"לשִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת, מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְיָ. יְיָ שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי, תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבוֹת, לְקוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי. אִם עֲוֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר יָהּ, יְיָ מִי יַעֲמֹד. כִּי עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה, לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵא. קִוִּיתִי יְיָ קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי, וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי. נַפְשִׁי לַיְיָ, מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר. יַחֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל יְיָ, כִּי עִם יְיָ הַחֶסֶד, וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת. וְהוּא יִפְדֶּה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִכֹּל עֲוֹנוֹתָיו.מזמור קכ"דשִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְדָוִד, לוּלֵי יְיָ שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ יֹאמַר נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל. לוּלֵי יְיָ שֶׁהָיָה לָנוּ בְּקוּם עָלֵינוּ אָדָם. אֲזַי חַיִּים בְּלָעוּנוּ בַּחֲרוֹת אַפָּם בָּנוּ. אֲזַי הַמַּיִם שְׁטָפוּנוּ נַחְלָה עָבַר עַל נַפְשֵׁנוּ. אֲזַי עָבַר עַל נַפְשֵׁנוּ הַמַּיִם הַזֵּידוֹנִים. בָּרוּךְ יְיָ שֶׁלֹּא נְתָנָנוּ טֶרֶף לְשִׁנֵּיהֶם. נַפְשֵׁנוּ כְּצִפּוֹר נִמְלְטָה מִפַּח יוֹקְשִׁים הַפַּח נִשְׁבָּר וַאֲנַחְנוּ נִמְלָטְנוּ. עֶזְרֵנוּ בְּשֵׁם יְיָ עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ.ויאמר:יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ יְיָ אֶ-לֹהֵינוּ וְאֱ-לֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶיַּעֲלוּ לְרָצוֹן מִזְמוֹרֵי תְּהִלִּים אֶלוּ שֶקָרָאנוּ הָיוֹם, כְּאִילוּ אֲמָרָם דָוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ עַבְדְךָ מְשִיחֶךָ ע"ה. וַעֲשֶֹה לְמַעַן שְמוֹתֶיךָ הַקְּדוֹשִים הַכְּתוּבִים בָּהֶם, וְהָרְמוּזִים וּמְצוֹרָפִים בָּהֶם, וּתְקַבֵּל ְּרַחֲמִים וּבְרָצוֹן אֶת תְּפִילָתֵנוּ וּבַקָּשָתֵינוּ, וְתָבֹא לְפָנֶיךָ תְּחִינָתֵנוּ, וְתָחוֹס וְתַחְמוֹל וּתְרַחֵם עַליעקב נפתלי בן רחל,וגיל-עד מיכאל בן בת גלים ואייל בן איריס תשורהבכל מקום שהם נמצאים ותשיבם לחיק עמם ומולדתם ומשפחתם, ולא ישמע עוד שוב ושבר בארצנו, ותפר עצת אויבינו ושונאינו תזרם ורוח תשאם, וסערה תפיץ אותם, ולא תעשנה ידיהם תושיה. תפול [...]



A Peace Plan that Makes Sense?

2014-06-09T18:09:56.384+03:00

5 Years ago I outlined my own vision of a Peace Plan between Israelis and Palestinians. Basically I suggested that any government negotiations centered around borders is doomed to fail as with any type of negotiation the sides are encouraged to take as hard-line position as possible.
I suggested that for the time being we should ignore the government-level negotiations, and instead concentrate on increasing personal connections between Israelis and Palestinians. If Israelis and Palestinians work together in fields like business, health care, and education, the details of if there is a border and where it is becomes less important - what becomes important is that Israelis and Palestinians have free access to each other's facilities and can interact without government interference.

Surprisingly, after I outlined my idea in a blog post in 2009, the Government didn't call me to help them rethink their relationship with the Palestinian Authority. Part of the reason that my plan is not realistic is that it forces people on both sides to abandon the arguments about who is right and who is wrong or arguing about perceived historical injustices, and instead think about how we can make the situation better for everyone.

Well, today I was pleased to see that I am not the only one who thinks that the way forward is by focusing on the personal level, not the government level. Dani Dayan just outlined a detailed Peace Proposal which has many elements of my dream, although he goes into much more detail (Summary of his plan here, more detailed version here). Similar to my plan he talks about Business, education, and health care, but he also addresses some other major issues like freedom of travel and replacing the army with a civil administration. He also talks about the role of the Palestinian Authority and important issues like access to Jewish Holy Sights, particularly Chevron, and of course a solution to the refugee problem.

There is very little in the plan that I can see anyone objecting to - but as I said before, extremists on both sides do not want a solution for Jews and Arabs to live together in peace, they want the other side to be publicly punished for perceived historical injustices.

It'll be very interesting to see if this peace proposal gains any traction, although I fear that that is wishful thinking.