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Preview: Israeli Grouch

Israeli Grouch

Contemplating life's joyous miseries... A young Israeli far from home, pondering about the world's intelligence (or lack thereof).

Updated: 2017-12-17T12:59:14.858+01:00


CNN learns a new word


When the attacks are done by Muslims, it's "activists" or "militants" or even "pacifists" (e.g. the Flotilla).

But when it's Jews? No problem finally using the word "Terrorist".

Way to go CNN.

PS: No, it does not matter that they're quoting Bibi. If they don't bother quoting him when he uses the word "terrorist" on other occasions, they don't get that luxury now.(image)

Middle East: Theater of the Absurd


To celebrate my return on the grid (yes I know you've missed me during my well-deserved holiday), a wonderfully absurd headline:

Lebanon files UN complaint against Israel
Officials in Beirut say IDF artillery response to Katyusha rockets was a violation of UNSC Res. 1701 and of international law.
Because Katyusha rockets are the very opposite of a violation of international law, right?

They don't even deny that Katyusha rockets were launched, they're just getting pedantic with the actual amount of them.
The Lebanese report claimed that only one rocket was fired from Lebanon into Israel and that the IDF fired six artillery shells.
Yes, tit for tat, that's what they're trying to get the UN to believe.

The sad part is really the fact that Lebanon knew it could lodge such a craptastic complaint at the UN without getting laughed at. It really shows that the UN has become completely irrelevant.(image)

Gaza fashion sense


Whether or not people agreed with the the Gilad Shalit deal, last Tuesday I know everyone agreed on one thing while watching the Egyptian Interview.

That shirt was one freakin' ugly shirt.

So someone explain to me, how is it that this shirt is now the height of fashion in Gaza?
But while most focused on his gaunt frame, it appears many Palestinians were more interested in his outfit, which became an immediate trend in Gaza. Merchants in the Strip are now offering "The Shalit shirt" in a wide range of colors, for NIS 60 ($16.5). The demand, it seems, is very high.
Facebook group member uploads photo comparing himself to Shalit

I guess there really is a humanitarian fashion crisis in Gaza.

The day after the release - random Gilad Shalit thoughts


I feel emotionally spent after spending the day yesterday following every minor event related to the release of Gilad. There's a jungle of thoughts running around my head, it's impossible to get them organized.Today is a better day than yesterday. Today, Gilad wakes up in his own bed, and will meet only people he knows and trusts.So many little things he'll need to catch up on. In five years he's missed out on (among others) Facebook, iPhones, last Harry Potter book, Lady Gaga, Chemistry Nobel prize... We all saw the forced Egyptian TV Interview. It was cruel and sadistic. And yet, it highlighted the stark contrast between Gilad's sweet character and the brutality of his captors.I almost retched when I heard the question "You’ve known what it’s like to be in captivity. There are more than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, will you now join the campaign for their release?"Gilad answered "I’ll be very happy if they are released, but they shouldn't go back to fighting Israel"This answer is nothing short of amazing, considering his captors were right behind him with a gun, and he couldn't be sure that his answers wouldn't prevent him from going home.Side note: this was not how it was translated in Arabic or by the BBC. People not listening to the original Hebrew received "I'll be very happy if they are released and go back to their families". Why bother interviewing him if you're going to lie about his answers?Speaking of cruel and sadistic, the interviewer Dragon Lady said she didn't know he was being forced to do the interview.Really? Masked Hamas men with guns behind him, and you think it's his free will?This looks like it's exactly how Gilad would like to spend his timeTo all the people who criticize Israel for "disproportionate use of force", where are you now? Why are you not criticizing this deal for its disproportionality?Reading users' comments on any other news site which allows them is an experience equivalent to reading a Kafka novel. On more than one occasion I've read comments talking about "the arrogance of the Israelis, thinking that they're the chosen people, that one Israeli is worth over a thousand Palestinians".Really? You guys think that we set the exchange rate? How clueless can you get?To all the people who scream "Apartheid" at Israel, will you continue doing that? You do realize that here we have killers going free just because they're Muslim and their targets were Jews? Amna Muna, the She-Devil who lured Ofir Rahum to his death, was not nice to other inmates while in prison. In fact, she harassed and terrorized them. So much in fact, that she refused to enter Gaza because she feared retaliation from her victims' families. Instead, she delayed the whole thing and finally got sent to Turkey. May she choke on a Turkish delight. Amen.There were some delays in getting Shalit back due, among other things, to the Egyptian interview. We waited patiently, holding our breath.There were some delays in getting the freed prisoners to Beitunia, and finally the transfer route was changed. Of course the Palestinians rioted and threw stones. No one is even surprised because it's so typical.Notice how relieved we all were that Gilad, while extremely pale, traumatized and underfed, is more or less in good condition?How come nobody even doubted that the Palestinian terrorists would be?Oh right, Israeli Double Standard time.I started crying when I heard the Yas'ur pilot say over his speaker "מביאים את גלעד הביתה" (We are bringing Gilad home).What a dissonance. Gilad, after 5 years in captivity, can still muster enough optimism in him to say that he hopes this will advance peace. The terrorists, after barely a few minutes of freedom, already cried for "the next Gilad Shalit" to be kidnapped. It's so nice to see Noam and Aviva genuinely smiling. I can hardly believe the strength of character that Gilad has shown. What a sweet, brave young man.I'd like to end this post with an[...]

Israeli-Palestinian exchange rate


The next time you hear someone use the faded old rhetoric of  comparing number of Israelis killed vs. number of Palestinians killed in order to bash Israel, just remind them of the exchange rate which Palestinians have imposed on the region.

As of today, 1 Israeli life is worth 1027 Palestinian lives.

Let's have a look at the region's skewed concept of "Fair Market Value", shall we?

Over the past 30 years, Israel has released around 7000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 19 Israelis and the bodies of 8 Israelis. Here is an overview of some of the most notable exchanges:
  • Jibril Agreement in 1985: 1150 prisoners released in exchange for 3 Israeli prisoners. Among the released: Ahmed Yassin
  • July 1996: A deal with Hezbollah to return the remains of 123 Lebanese soldiers in exchange for the remains of 2 Israelis.
  • June 1998: Another deal with Hezbollah, to return the remains of 40 Hezbollah soldiers (including Nasrallah's son's remains) in exchange for the remains of one Israeli.
  • January 2004: Yet another Hezbollah deal, 435 prisoners in exchange for the bodies of 3 Israeli soldiers kidnapped at the very beginning of the 2nd Intifada (Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawaid), and "businessman" Elchanan Tennenbaum.
    Among the released: Mustafa Dirani and Abdel Karim Obeid, two "jokers" originally intended as bargaining chips for Ron Arad.
  • July 2008: 5 terrorists, among which Samir Kuntar, and the bodies of 204 other terrorists, were exchanged for the coffins containing the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. 
  • September 2009: Israel released 20 female prisoners for a proof-of-life tape of Gilad Shalit.
No, Israel is no stranger to this history of lopsided prisoner exchanges.

A Double-Edged Sword


While all the news of the world are pointed at the Shalit family, I'd like to take a step back and look at Benjamin Netanyahu, who ultimately bears the responsibility for the decision of the prisoner release.

Think of all that must be going through his head, and has been for years.

On one hand, there's a boy who hasn't begun to live his life yet because he was obliged, as every young Israeli man, to first serve his country as a soldier.

This man did nothing wrong in regards to this country, how can this same country neglect him? Bibi knows what it means to be a soldier, and knows also what it means to give yourself fully, knowing that no matter what happens your country will go back for you.
How can he ever ask a soldier to put his life on the line for his country if they feel that the country will abandon them?
Bibi's Jewish fundamentals teach him that there is no greater mitzvah than that of Pidyon Shvuyim, the redemption of prisoner, as captivity is even worse than starvation or death.

On the other hand, Bibi answers to all of the state of Israel. He always knew that any deal would include terrorists, many of them with blood on their hands.
After all the hard work that went into capturing them, how can they be let go?
After mourning side by side with the terror victims' families, how can he release the very murderers who were responsible?
How can he ensure Israelis feel safe and in fact are safe with a thousand more savages on the loose?
The same Jewish fundamentals teach him that prisoners shouldn't be ransomed for more than their value.

But who has the right to decide the value of the life of Gilad Shalit?

With such a burden on Bibi's shoulders, I wonder how this man sleeps at night.
Torn between the obligation of a state to its soldiers of never leaving them behind enemy lines, and the responsibility of keeping the citizens of Israel safe.

Most of the article I've read speak of him "not wanting to go down in history as the man who didn't bring Gilad Shalit home." I don't think that's fair. Now he can go down in history as "the man who released over a thousand blood-thirsty barbarians". This was never going to be a win-win situation once it unraveled, we've always known that.

That seems to be the destiny of the nation of Israel. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. So Netanyahu chose for the scenario with the calculated risk where, if all goes well tomorrow, Gilad Shalit comes back home.

I know it's unbearable for many of the victims' families, that I am in no position to understand them, and I genuinely hope I never have the need to.

Yet, I honestly believe that if a family had one child who was killed by terrorists and the other abducted, they would agree to freeing the killers of the first child if it meant that they could bring the second back home.
Israel is all one family. It hurts us beyond any description that we have to release these murderers who killed our children, but we grudgingly agree to pay this price because Gilad is also our child, and he can still be saved.


So who are these monsters we have to release?


Make no mistake about my feelings in regard to the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. I am very happy that he will come home and while the price to pay for his release is very high, I applaud my government for being able to make this very difficult choice, and support this decision.But it is an incredibly high price to pay and one can only wonder about the society which welcomes monsters such as the terrorists we are forced to release.Here's a little glimpse of a handful of the people beasts the peace-loving and state-deserving Palestinians wish to see free:Walid Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Hadi Anajas, born in 1980, currently serving 36 life sentences for his role in the terror attack at Moment Caffé in Jerusalem on March 9, 2002, where 11 civilians were immediately killed and 54 more were injured.Nasir Sami Abd al-Razzaq Ali al-Nasser - Yataima, born in 1977, currently serving 29 life sentences for his role in helping bomb the Park Hotel in Netanya when it was full of guests for the Passover Seder on March 22, 2002, where 30 civilians were killed and 140 injured.Maedh  Waal Taleb Abu Sharakh, born in 1980, currently serving 19 life sentences for his role in the bombing of bus 37 in Haifa on March 5, 2003, in which there were 17 fatalities and 53 wounded.Fadi Muhammad Ibrahim al-Jaaba, born in 1982, currently serving 18 life sentences, also for his role in the bombing of bus 37 in Haifa.Mus’ab Ismail aI-Hashlimun, born 1982, currently serving 17 life sentences for dispatching the two suicide bombers who realized the twin bus bombing in Beer Sheva on August 31, 2004, where 16 civilians were killed and 100 wounded.Tamimi Aref Ahmad Ahlam, born in 1980, the female terrorist currently serving 16 life sentences for driving the suicide bomber to his destination, the Sbarro pizza restaurant terror attack on August 9, 2001, where 15 people (including 5 members of the same family) were killed, and 130 people wounded.Abd al-Aziz Yussuf Mustafa Salehi, born in 1981, the man who proudly waved his blood stained hands to a cheering crowd after the brutal lynch of two Israeli non-combatant reservists, before their bodies were thrown from the window and trampled on, on October 12, 2000.;Muna Jawad Ali Amna , born in 1976, serving 1 life sentence, was present at the Ramallah lynching and was excited by what she saw, and decided to get active online. She lured 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Jerusalem then Ramallah, after telling him on the Internet that she was a new immigrant from Morocco. She drove him to his killers who fired several shots at him.While in prison, she adopted a young baby born there, does not regret what she did and says that people shouldn't look at her only as a murderer, she also has a deep personality.These are not people who deserve to be free. They deserve to rot in hell for a few eternities, not to be hailed as heroes in their home villages.The only thing I can console myself with is the fact that they had very good living conditions in Israeli prisons, and will now go back to their previous, crummy living standards. In fact, they will all probably have to go into hiding because Israel has made it clear that just because they are being returned does not mean they are no longer targets.Remember, it's easier to kill them outside of prison rather than inside.You can see the full list of the terrorists about to be freed here.For detailed accounts of the lives cut short because of these terrorists, One Family Fund has it all. Read their stories and remember their lives.[...]

The torment of freeing Gilad Shalit


I don't dare get my hopes too high.Just yesterday there was the inauguration of the exhibit of "When the Shark and the Fish first met", a story written by 11 year old Gilad Shalit, at the European Parliament in Brussels.And today I come home to read the headline we've been waiting for for over five years.Gilad could be home within daysI can hardly believe it.I know there are two sides to this argument.I understand the Shalit family who are doing everything in their power to garner attention to their son. How can any mother sleep at night, knowing that her son is cold and hurt and alone? How can a father look at himself in the mirror without seeing the man whose job it is to always be there for his son? How can a brother or a sister go on with their lives while a void walks alongside them all the way? If you were any one of them, wouldn't you do everything and anything to free Gilad?I also understand the families of the victims of terrorists, and all those who will say that the price we are paying is too high. Of course they are right, how can we free a single terrorist with blood on his hands and no remorse in his soul, let alone a thousand of them? How are we not encouraging more abductions? What about the feelings of the families of the future soldiers who risk getting kidnapped?My younger brother is entering the IDF in a little less than three weeks. Right about the same time as when this deal is supposed to take place. Freeing a thousand terrorists and empowering Hamas is going to make everything so much more difficult for him, so much more dangerous. But how can I ignore the agony Gilad is still suffering for the comfort of my brother? How can I tell Aviva Shalit that in order for me to sleep soundly at night, I require her to continue having nightmares about what might be happening to her son?I can't do that. Which is why, though I agree that the price is immensely high, and that Israel will be more vulnerable than before, and that my brother will be among the soldiers whose job it is to protect Israel's vulnerability, I wish for this deal to go through and for Gilad to finally go home.They are right, it is a high price. It is our greatest flaw: we value life over everything else. But the opposite is worse.So little brother, go and join the ranks of Israel's keepers. Be extra cautious. While you keep us safe, remember that we will also do everything to keep you safe in return.[...]

Analysis of Abbas's UN speech


For a while now, I hear people around me ask innocently "why shouldn't the Palestinians be recognized as a full member-state by the UN?" as if that's the solution to the whole Middle East Peace Process.These people can go to lengths dissecting Netanyahu's speech, casting doubt on his willingness to go to negotiations, taking offense at his slightest criticism of the Palestinian Authority for the current status quo, and generally feeling that his concerns regarding terrorism and security are bordering on paranoia.But place these people in front of Abbas's speech, and they can't find a thing to criticize. Oh yeah sure, he hasn't been the perfect negotiator, but he's the most secular leader the Palestinians are likely to get, or something just as apologetic.You expect so little of me that I can get a standing ovation just by waving this wad of papersWhy is it that people have such low expectations of the Palestinian leadership? Raise the bar a bit, you're not doing them any favors by treating them like incompetent kindergartners.The reason why the Palestinians and their chosen leaders are nowhere near ready is heard loud and clear, not in Netanyahu's speech, but in Abbas's. Abbas had an opportunity to speak up and reach out to the moderates in the Palestinian public, to those who strive towards coexistence. Instead he fed more anger and frustration to the continuous addiction the Palestinians seem to have for eternal victimization.The whole speech is full of venom and angry repetitions of brutal words like "the occupying power", "colonial military occupation", "aggression" "racial discrimination", "confiscation", "annexation", "Nakba", "demolition", "displacement", "ethnic cleansing", "racist annexation wall", "apartheid policies", "Israeli obstacles", "tragedy", "horrors", "suffering", "uprooting", and I could go on and on (like he did basically).Does this sound like someone who's ready to face reality, accept responsibility, and move forward?Or like someone who can only play the victim?Such a huge part of the speech was one long conscious lie, that it's hard to pull out some particular moments which mind baffling. However, here are some exceptionally hard-to-believe excerpts from the speech Abbas held at the UN last week:The Question Palestine is intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East - UNRWA - which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that occurred in 1948.Again and again with the Nakba. Does no one realize how offensive it is that they keep calling Israel's independence "the Catastrophe" ? Would the world be patient with us if we called the Palestinian independence (should its peaceful presence ever grace us) as The Disaster?Notice also how he delicately points out that the plight of the Palestinian refugees is a responsibility of the international community, rather than the responsibility of the Arab countries who refused to absorb them and instead let them rot in refugee camps for ages in order to keep them as pawns against Israel.A year ago, at this same time, distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our region. [...] We entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.And why did the negotiations break down Mahmoud dear? It wouldn't have anything to do with the decision of President Mahmoud Abbas to stop peace talks with Israel due to the expiration of the 10 month Israeli freeze on West Bank construction, would it? Seems like someo[...]

Abbas whines at the UN


Some people really have no shame.

Abbas could have had a great moment at the UN. Imagine coming in, and declaring "As a result of successful negotiations, and a strong infrastructure in cooperation with the Jewish State of Israel, I am proud to declare the establishment of the State of Palestine" or something just as kumbaya-ish.

Instead, we got this (PDF text in link).

Notice how there is no mention of Hamas or terrorism. No mention of Jews.
Just perpetual whining.

He even talks about Arafat's 1974 UN appearance with his famous ""Do not let the  olive branch  fall
from my hand", failing to mention that the other hand held the proverbial "freedom fighter's gun".
Just as all of his narrative, he glosses over anything the Palestinians may have done wrong, because they are just perfect citizens, aren't they?

The more things change the more they stay the same


Ahmadinejad's speech at the UN


Last night was nice for some snark but here are a few serious things regarding Mad Moody's speech at the UN General Debate yesterday.

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Take a look at the delegations who've left the assembly room. Can anyone tell who they are?

Here's the speech if you want to read along

Erdogan at the UN


Our dear friend Tayyip Tantrum Erdogan's speech at the UN General Debate.

Since when does he care about the plight of African countries?

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The text of his speech isn't available on the UN website yet... Soon enough...(image)

Ahmadinejad through the years at the UN


He doesn't change his clothing style much, does he? He did dare that light grey suit once, but it probably didn't seem ominous enough, so he went back to this usual dark suit... He's also very didactic. Notice how he's always using his hands to make sure we understand.2005 - First time at the UN2006 - trying to wow us with the new suit2007 - I broke a nail on my right hand so I'm using my left hand this time2008 - Just once can't you sit through my speech?2009 - I can't be crazy this year, Muammar Ghaddafi's stolen the show2010 - I've brough props this time!2011 - Do I have anything stuck between my teeth? He's gained a little weight hasn't he?Anyway, Mahmood Ahmadinejad will always be Mad Moody to me.I taken a double dose of my happy pills today![...]

Define Irony?


Has anyone noticed the theme of this year's UN General Debate?

"The role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means."

I kid you not. You can't make up stuff like this.

While we wait for the agenda of the General Debate to see when Israel and the Palestinian delegation will speak, here's a little piece of nostalgia.

Ariel Sharon at the General Assembly in September 2005. Six years just flew by...

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Who actually has legal rights to Palestine? Part 2


Now that we've established the legal framework in place before the creation of the State of Israel, we can discuss the agreements, rights and obligations which followed it, particularly UN Security Council Resolution 242.(If you haven't read Part 1 yet, I highly recommend it, it's good for your health)Is Israel always in the UN's cross hairs?United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 does not call for the return to 1967 bordersI assume most of you were already familiar with this concept. Still, it never hurts to be reminded of the context around this resolution. There are many points of discussion in regards to this resolution:Does every single word matter?Which version actually counts, the English or the French version?Is this resolution legally binding?Yes, every word counts. Otherwise they wouldn't have bothered writing them, would they?Let's revisit the actual text for reference.Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.It very clearly says "from territories" rather than "from the territories", which makes a huge difference in the English language. The absence of a definite article ("the") means that a full withdrawal was not requested from Israel. If it were, it would very clearly clash with the "live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries" in the point directly following it. The 1949 armistice lines were never secure boundaries.It also says that Israel's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence should be recognized. It does not say the same for the "Palestinian State"."Oh really?" I can already hear you say, "it says 'every State in the area'". Quite right, it does dear friends. However, given the fact that there was no Palestinian state in 1967 (or ever mind you), they were not a subject of interest in regards to this UN resolution. Who was?Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. (The latter only accepted the resolution in 1973).The Security Council resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 is often referred to as the source of rights and obligations for the parties in the Middle East. I focus on Jerusalem. I take the position that again, rights have been granted based on the recognition of historical rights, based on the principle of reconstituting what the Jewish people used to have. The Jewish state and the Jewish people have done nothing to relinquish, surrender the rights that were given in respect to that territory.Now, if you've ever looked at the original grainy resolution (you can find a pdf of it on the UN's site), you'll see that it's in two languages side by side: English and French. Where in English it says "from territories", in French it says "Retrait des forces armées israéliennes des territoires occupés lors du récent conflit."Houston, we have a problem.The French text submitted by Mali and Nigeria, over which there was no vote, has a definite article! That means that people can just ignore the text in English, wave the French text around and say "Israel needs to abide by this resolution which says that they need to completely withdraw from the West Bank!".No they can't.Not that this stops anyone, but they can't. You see, legally, in case of texts[...]

Who actually has legal rights to Palestine? Part 1


With all this media frenzy about the Palestinian unilateral state bid at the UN this coming week, does anyone ever stop to think whether this move will have any legal ramifications? What's more, does anyone even care what previous commitments state and what they oblige their parties to uphold?Well, the Mainstream Media (MSM) sure doesn't. Furthermore, President Abbas knows very well that the MSM has a selective amnesia when it comes to these subjects, and he exploits that to the max.Why yes, contracts are legally binding. Unless you signed a contract with Israel obviously.Points to keep in mind which we'll be developing in this post:United Nations General Assembly Resolutions are not legally binding.Rights in regards to Jews and Arabs in Palestine were created in International law during the British Mandate of Palestine (in other words, a long time ago)United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 does not call for the return to 1967 bordersIsrael and the Palestinian Authority signed legal agreements, or contracts, which give both parties not only rights but also obligations.United Nations General Assembly Resolutions are NOT legally binding.Wait, what? No way.Well yes. In their own words: The General Assembly is not a world government - its resolutions are not legally binding upon Member States.That can't be right, can it? Then what the hell are they useful for? Not much really Actually yes it's right, and again in their own words: However, through its recommendations it can focus world attention on important issues, generate international cooperation and, in some cases, its decisions can lead to legally binding treaties and conventions.But then what's the deal with resolution 181, the Palestine Partition Plan? Why do we get all teary eyed when recounting the votes, and even name streets after that fatidic date of 29th November?First of all, because it was a kick-ass resolution! Even if for just one ephemeral moment, everything seemed perfect. And it could have been, had the Arabs accepted the partition plan.But from a legal point of view?Resolution 181 in the United Nations General Assembly in 1947 paved the way for the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948. However, did this give Israel legitimacy?The answer is “No”.Generally speaking in International law, General Assembly resolutions are not binding.It’s a white myth, there’s absolutely no truth that Israel’s legal foundation is based on the UN partition resolution of November 1947.If the Jewish people and the Arabs had agreed to enter into a treaty based on the terms of the resolution, then rights and obligations could have been created in international law. But that didn’t happen.This is like finding out your parents never got married. We're an illegitimate child then? Where do we find our legitimacy?Rights in regards to Jews and Arabs in Palestine were created in International law during the British Mandate of Palestine (in other words, a long time ago)The legal foundation of modern Israel really is initially traced back to the period right after the first world war, when the great powers at the time and the League of Nations, which was the UN of that particular period, had decided what’s going to happen to various former enemy territories.In case you need reminding, up till the end of WW I, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, who were on the losing side of that war. That war also brought about the establishment of the League of Nations.Many people believe that Israel's claims to legitimacy exist only thanks to a short little note which we now know as the Balfour Declaration of 1917. That may have been what ignited it all, but Isr[...]

Why do Jews wear Kippas?


To breakdance of course!

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Gotta say, I'm really loving these Jewish holidays creative videos that have been popping up the past year. This "Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem" is by Street Art Production. Cool stuff!(image)

Two weeks to 5772


With just two weeks to go until Rosh Hashana, I'd like to share with you the colorful song which I've been singing in the shower the last few days.

Dip your apple by the Fountainheads (what a great name!) definitely makes me less grouchy!

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If you're anything like me, you'll want to sing along, right? Here are the lyrics (after the jump):

Tekia, shevarim, terua x2

A new year rising
A new beginning
Lift your heard up, turn yourself ‘round, the world is spinning

Feel the magic
Of a new day
Open your heart to a fresh start, send your fears away

You’ve made mistakes
You feel it
You’ve got what it takes
Believe it

Any wrong can be made right
Just forgive you need not fight
Shana tova u metuka 
It's Rosh Hashana!

Shana tova, u’metuka
Dip your apple in the honey
It's Rosh Hashana!

So many new hopes
Waiting to find you
Open your eyes, the dreams you prize are all around you

The smiles are hiding
No use in guessing
Make up your mind, go out and find life's simple blessings

This is your time 
You feel it
How sweet it is 
Believe it

Any wrong can be made right
Just forgive you need not fight
Shana tova u metuka
It's Rosh Hashana!

Shana tova u metuka
Dip your apple in the honey 
On Rosh Hashana
Shana tova u metuka
Hear the sounds of jubilation 
It's Rosh Hashana!

Yehi ratzon shenihiyeh le rosh lo zanav
Sweeten life for those around us with joy and love
Avinu malkeinu chaneinu veanaeinu

Hear our prayer Oh Lord this hour
Inscribe us in the book of life


Shana tova

Shana tova u metuka
Dip your apple in the honey 
On Rosh Hashana
Hear the sounds of jubilation
It's Rosh Hashana!

(She hichiyanu)
Give us life Lord
(Ve kiyemanu)
And sustain us
(Ve higi'anu)
Oh deliver us
To salvation

In this New Year
(On Rosh Hashana)
Make your loved ones smile
(It’s Rosh Hashana)
Open your hearts to one another 
(It's Rosh Hashana)
And begin life anew
(It’s Rosh Hashana)

If that didn't put a smile on your face, you're made of stone. Or you've listened to the news too much these days.
Shanananana ...

What present to get for a BDS friend?


Bored kids seeking to experience self-righteous indignation and then pretending that that indignation is useful to anyone. I'm sure we all know at least one person who fits that description. I have quite a few friends who do.Now, the problem is, what do you do when their birthdays come around?Yesterday, we had a little get-together for a close friend's birthday. Now to be totally fair, this friend isn't really active in the Palestinian arena of her organization, she concentrates mostly on developing countries in Africa (good on her!).  However, this doesn't stop her from randomly posting her organization's messages about the Arab-Israeli conflict on facebook, and to have simplistic four-word opinions such as "Palestinians live under oppression" or "Jewish settlers prevent peace" or even "Israel is exaggerating. Again". While she doesn't actively seek to BDS (She has no idea that all of the herbs she buys at the supermarket are from Israel), she knows her organization does a lot of propaganda for it, and she agrees with their reasons to do so.She's not a bad person, though she does have some very enlightened thoughts such as that Jews wear funny little hats and that they don't integrate well, and they're really obsessive about their kitchens. (She babysat to a religious family once, and thought it was okay to bring her frozen lasagna and heat it in their oven. Let's simply say that hilarity did not ensue, and that the oven spent a week disassembled in the garden.)Again, to be really fair, it's understandable that with what the medias here show of the conflict, it's almost impossible to have a different opinion, and it takes a great mind to be able to question oneself and search beyond the available platitudes.I digress.Her organization is very active in boycotting all things Israel, including open hearings and debates if they include anyone from Israel "with an agenda". They are definitely not in the business of understanding. Few people who proselytize about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict believe there is any value in listening to the other side.I could have given her a little set of Ahava creams, or a basket filled with bamba, bissli and other Israeli calories, or perhaps an Israeli music CD (who doesn't love Idan Raichel?). But would she have felt differently about Israel's policies after feeling her super soft hands? Doubtful. I want something that will get her thinking, something that will start a debate. I don't need to convince people and to have everyone agree with me, but I do want their horizons to spread beyond their comfort level. Progress is made when ideas clash together. Or something.Getting her a heavy duty geo-political book about the situation, or some historical analysis wouldn't be quite right. I'd obviously pick for something "from my side", and she'd be very wary reading it (if she ever would). I decided to give her an illustrated book called "How to understand Israel in 60 days (or less)" by Sarah Glidden.It's the story of Sarah, a young American Jew, who goes to Israel for the first time, expecting it to fit her preconceived notions of it. It didn't. The tension in the story is based on the fact that progressive Sarah, like many of her cohorts, is critical of the State of Israel, particularly its treatment of the Palestinians. But what she sees is a reality much different from what she believed. Not all of it is good, which is probably the book's strongest point. It doesn't have all the answers. Heck, it doesn't even have all the questions. But she does question herself, and in that she does a grand[...]

Of course Erdogan acts this way - you let him!


Erdogan now thinks that he can say words in Latin and look intelligent.

He thinks the Mavi Marmara incident can be considered as a casus belli. He wants to use international law to attack Israel, all the while ignoring the international law whose verdict was that Israel's actions were completely legal.

Does NATO not care that its ally is openly threatening to enforce a legal blockade?

Why do you think Turkey's Erdogan feels such freedom to publicly express his heinous and hypocritical opinions?


The world exploded with headlines about Israel's excessive force and refusal to apologize, but was predominantly silent in regards to Turkey's faults. The world gave Erdogan a welcoming stage for his fury, while chastising Israel for its refusal to apologize for legally acting in self defense.

Why shouldn't Erdogan feel free to expell the Israeli ambassador? To threaten to cross the blockade? To send warships to the Mediterranean? After all, he learned from the best didn't he?

Were there gigantic headlines when Ahmadinejad insisted that the Holocaust was a myth? Did Iran get any backlash from the UN for threatening to wipe out Israel, another member of the UN? Their chronic terrorism founding?

Erdogan has seen that for years Ahmadinejad can get away with whatever the hell he wants. Why on earth shouldn't he do the same? Why should he hide any longer behind some pseudo politically correct mask?

The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.


Daniel Lewin - First victim of 9/11


I wrote a little earlier about Daniel Lewin as a side note. I feel he deserves a full post.

Born in the US, he encouraged his family to make Aliyah while he was still at school. After a brilliant IDF service, followed by studies at some of the most prestigious institutes on the planet, Daniel founded akamai, an Internet content delivery network and worked in the US.
He was aboard Flight 11, the first of the hijacked flight to come to attention. Daniel Lewin was on board that flight, in business class. As the hijacking started to take place, Daniel's Sayeret Matkal instincts came into action. Unfortunately, he probably didn't imagine that there were more than a couple terrorists on board, let alone five. One of the terrorists was sitting behind him and stabbed him. He was the first to stand up and fight terror, and was also its first victim.
How symbolic that in what was to become the worlds largest terror attack, the first to fight would be the Israeli.

(if the video about Daniel doesn't work on your browser - you can see it here)

A reminder that Israel is always in the front line in the war on terror. But what gets past the Israeli defense will indubitably end up barging through the front door of the rest of the civilized world.


11 September 2001 - where were you?


It's almost funny how some things haven't changed since that Tuesday morning 10 years ago. Headlines still talk about US Open results and the latest politician sex scandals. Except that today's headlines will be overshadowed by 9/11 stories: What happened, what changed, what will happen, new Al Qaeda threats, analysis about what should have been done, what could have been done, where did we go wrong...Where were you and what were you doing when you heard about it all? Did you see it unfold live? What where your first thoughts?We had recently landed in Rome, and after a smooth taxi ride we got into our hotel room. We turned on the TV and started channel surfing. I called my grandmother to let her know I landed safely. My grandma asked me if I had seen New York and the plane and all that. I gently reminded her that I was in Rome, not New York. "No, no, on the television". Just then, the channel surfing showed images of one of the two trade towers with black smoke and flames coming out of it. Funny, I thought, they're showing the same movie here. It took me a few seconds to realize that it wasn't a movie. I told her I'd call her back, and sat on the bed, hypnotised by the screen. It was a little before 3 PM in Rome.As we watched the images, the black thick smoke coming out, we listened to the narrator explaining that there's more and more fire, I try to comprehend how many people are stuck there.Then, a black silhouette of a plane charges right at the fire. Everything happened so fast, an explosion, the narrator stopped mid-sentence to find his words which sound something like "Oh my god... a second plane". 3:03 PM. This is now officially no longer an accident.You couldn't ply me away from that television with a crowbar. I remember saying "If this turns out to be Palestinians, that's it for them, they'll never get anything now". I couldn't be further from the truth. I didn't feel the time go by, just watching those images, and CNN showing again and again the plane that flew into the second tower. Then they start talking about the Pentagon. What? A plane flew into the Pentagon? Total mayhem. Every channel is contradicting everyone else and even itself. A plane! A missile! An explosion! What?Images, horrible images on television. People jumping from unimaginable heights. Theories already running rampant all over the place. Then that second tower to be hit starts cascading down on itself. Papers flying everywhere. In a matter of seconds, a whole building is gone. Inconceivable.Reports of a fourth plane, brought down in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. How many more planes are there? The first tower to be hit goes down as well, people on the streets are covered with thick grey dust, running in every which direction. Both buildings completely gone. Where do you even begin with the recovery efforts? How do you assist in a disaster of such magnitude? We stayed glued to the television for a few more hours.Later that night, we strolled around Via Veneto. The American Embassy was surrounded by Italian soldiers forming a human barrier around the compound. This was just the first of many security measures which would change in the coming years.A few days later, we learned that the uncle of a family friend was on board flight 11, the first flight to hit the towers. His name was Daniel Lewin, and other than being a brilliant entrepreneur, he was a graduate of Sayeret Matkal, an elite IDF unit. He was the first victim of what was to become the biggest terror attack i[...]

Palestinians celebrated 9/11 with candy


As we near the somber anniversary of the greatest terror attack ever perpetrated on US soil, take a moment to remember how you reacted. Take a moment to remember how your fellow citizens in your respective countries reacted.

How did people in East Jerusalem react?

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The Palestinians danced joyfully in the streets, distributed candy, and flashed V for victory signs.

Remember this in a couple of weeks as these same Palestinians insist to the UN on their right to a state, in the very same city whose destruction they celebrated.(image)

Erdogan's Israel hate started long before the flotilla


Turkey suspends all defense ties with Israel today, which adds to the already long list of ridiculous actions by Turkey trying to prove that they don't have to listen to reason.

But in fact, reason's ship has already sailed long long ago from Istanbul's port. (Ankara doesn't have a port).

Here's an oldie but goodie, Erdogan's temper tantrum at the honorable Shimon Peres during Davos 2009.
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"One minute! One minute! One minute!"

Erdogan would have taken any excuse to cut ties with Israel.

Flotilla hypocrisy excessive, but raid still legal - part 2


(continued from part 1)So, though the Palmer report confirms thatthe blockade was legalthat the flotilla tried to breach itthat Israel must enforce its blockade for it to be effectivethat the flotilla had ties to terrorist organizationsNow here comes the brain fart: The Palmer report also says that the IDF soldiers used excessive force in response to the violence they encountered on board the Mavi Marmara, and that Israel should apologize to Turkey.So, let's rewind a little to analyze why the IDF soldiers used the force they used.The take-over began with an attempt to board from two speedboats. These withdrew when faced with resistance from Mavi Marmara passengers. IDF naval commandos were then landed on the vessel by fast-roping from three helicopters. Starting at 4.29 a.m. 15 IDF personnel began to fast-rope onto the roof of the vessel from the first helicopter and met with violent resistance from a group of passengers. Violent resistance? That's somewhat of a euphemism, isn't it?The Naval commandos who abseiled on the vessel were Shayetet 13 soldiers. It is an elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Navy, considered to be among the world's special forces. These people are not easily subdued, it takes a lot of violence to do that. They were armed with paintball rifles in their hands, plastic bullet riot dispersal handguns at their sides, and hidden firearms. They were beaten with metal pipes and chairs as they were coming down, remember? allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />The passengers on board were separated into two groups, the "soldiers" on deck, and the "others" below deck. The "soldiers" were well prepared, with gas masks, bullet proof vests, metals bars, knives, chains, and organized into positions.Three of the commandos were captured and taken below deck. Do you realize the intensity of the Mavi Marmara "soldiers" violence if they managed to neutralize three elite Shayetet 13 commandos? To reduce them to this?After seeing three of their soldiers get captured and taken away (they couldn't guess that people below deck weren't as violent as the people above), the soldiers got serious.IDF personnel involved in the operation needed to take action for their own protection and that of the other soldiers.The Israeli report concluded that IDF personnel acted professionally in response, and switched back and forth between lethal and “less-lethal” weapons as appropriate during the incident, consistent with their rules of engagement and the exercise of self defence.This is where the Israel Double Standards strike once more. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of hooligans, doing something illegal, who start to hit the police officers who come to arrest them. The hooligans manage to capture three police officers, basically holding them hostage, and they continue with their rage and violence, and face to face combat. What do you think would happen? No shots would be fired? And at the end of the day, who do you think would have the most "damage"? The trained, armed police officers, or the overweight hooligans who tried to hit armed soldiers with metal pipes? But replace "police officers" with "IDF soldiers" and "hooligans" with "flotilla activists", and o[...]