Thursday, August 31, 2006

Whatever Happened To Tov'ya?

Where is Tov'ya? He used to have a blog Zion Report which seems to have disappeared. If anyone knows leave a comment or email me.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Nice Film: Friday in Jerusalem

I received the following email:
My friend Gil Ronen made this film, and I'm helping him spread the link around. If you like it, I hope you'll consider posting a link to it on your blog or passing it on to your friends by email. Thanks!

It's a nice film. Enjoy!

BTW, some interesting things about Mr. Ronen:
Gil Ronen, a former Correspondent in the Territories and Correspondent in the Knesset for IDF Radio, founded Or Adom, an activist group against police brutality, which led to the establishment of the Department for Investigation of Police Officers in Israel's Ministry of Justice. Ronen now runs, a studio specializing in Flash animations.
Read this as well.

Moshe Feiglin Does It Again

Another great article by Moshe Feiglin. I first saw it a few days ago in the HaYisraeli newspaper. I am glad that an English version is now available: The Commission of Inquiry's Conclusions:
The following are the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry that will not be established. And if it is established, the parameters of inquiry will not be correctly defined. And if they are defined, it will not have the appropriate authority. And if it does, it will be afraid to speak the truth. And if it does speak the truth, Israel's media and justice system will be sure to delegitimize it.
Read the rest.

The Plague of Internet Pornography

by Tzvi Fishman
Aug 28, '06 / 4 Elul 5766

Little Joey may be sitting quietly in his room, glued to the computer, but do you know what he is watching? The statistics are frightening. They speak for themselves.

There are over 500 million pages of pornography on the Internet. Two out of five Internet users regular visit pornography sites. In a February poll of university students in America, 87% admitted having "virtual sex" with their computers. Over 63 million viewers enter adult websites per month, reaching 42.7 percent of the Internet audience. The Internet pornography industry generates $12 billion dollars in annual revenue - larger than the combined annual revenues of ABC, NBC and CBS.

These staggering statistics are only the beginning. It turns out that the largest group of viewers of Internet pornography is children between ages 12 and 17. 80% of these teenagers view pornography online while doing their homework. Surveys reveal that the number-one media concern for American parents has shifted from television to the Internet, with 85 percent of parents saying that the Internet posed a greater risk to their children than any other media.

Read the rest.

Do Murderers Sit Shiva?

This is a piece that I wrote last year but I did not post for technical reasons. As the injustice, criminality and foolishness of the "disengagement" become clear to more and more people, I feel that this piece is still timely:

Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz wrote an interesting article in the midst of the "disengagement" entitled "Israel Must Sit Shiva." The article describes at length how Gush Katif looked as it was being destroyed by the IDF and the Israeli police:
Gush Katif is dying. The settlements are breathing their last. Some are reconciled, others are resisting. Some are fighting back, others are falling apart. Some are grieving deeply, others have broken hearts. The settlers have been defeated. Their greenhouses are withering. Their synagogues are empty. Their rooms are wide open. Their villages are ghost towns.
From the description we might have thought that Shavit was equating Gush Katif to an old man who was on his death bed dying of natural causes. Perhaps he was likening them to a patient in the last stages of a terminal illness.

But the truth is that the greenhouses did not wither because the residents of the Gush were inexpert farmers. Nor were the synagogues empty for lack of people that wanted to worship. The villages did not become ghost towns because their inhabitants sought better fortune elsewhere.

Gush Katif was a block of settlements that was healthy socially and economically. Their contribution to Israel's economy is well known. Their participation in the combat units of the IDF was high. In spite of the difficult security situation, which was a direct product of the Oslo Agreements, the residents of Gush Katif showed great tenacity. Gush Katif was alive and vibrant.

But, as Shavit pointed out, Gush Katif was dying, and now it is already dead. However, Gush Katif did not die of natural causes. Gush Katif was murdered in cold blood. The Gush was a victim of a violent slaying, ordered by a prime minister who swindeled his constituants, carried out by his troops, and cheered on by Israel's mainstream media.

Shavit goes on to point out the lack of compassion showed by the Israeli secular intellectuals towards the suffering of the settlers:
The hard-heartedness of the intellectual and legal elites in the face of the catastrophe that befell the residents of Gush Katif will not be forgotten. It will seep into the groundwater of our shared lives and pollute it.
Yeah, right. Our shared lives are already polluted by the post-Zionism, anti-Zionism, anti-Judaism and corruption in the highest echelons of the Israeli government and media that made the destruction of Gush Katif possible.

Shavit continues with the following observation:
Gush Katif was a world of its own - a world of work and faith, of patriotic innocence and communal warmth; a world that touches the heart, that was established in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, as this world is being buried in the sand, Israel must sit shiva for it.
In my view Ari Shavit's piece is full of errors that stem from his secular-leftist weltanschauung, and I have not come to elaborate on all of these mistakes. However, his reference to sitting shiva is bizarre, entirely out of place, especially coming from the pen of a secular-leftist. It is true that relatives of the departed sit shiva. However if the relative murdered the deceased, does the murderer sit shiva? I don't know, and its not the kind of question that I am going to ask my rabbi! In any case, even if the halacha requires the murderer to sit shiva, the spectacle would be quite repugnant. Such is the case of Gush Katif's destroyers sitting shiva for it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The IDF's "Morals"

In the continuing struggle against the IDF's warped moral system that endagers soldiers in order not to harm the enemy's civilians, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed opens his column in Besheva with the following:
לפני הכל צריכים לעורר מחאה גדולה נגד המנהיגות המדינית והצבאית. ובמיוחד כנגד ה'מוסר' הקלוקל שהכשיל את המלחמה, לפיו נשלחים חיילינו להיהרג כדי שלא לפגוע ב'חפים מפשע'. 'מוסר' זה הוא היום כלי הנשק היעיל ביותר של כוחות הרשע.
Before anything else we must raise a great protest against the political and military leadership. And especially against the defective “moral system” that caused the war to fail, according to which our soldiers are sent to be killed in order not to hurt “innocents”. This “moral system” is today the most effective weapon of the forces of evil.

I agree.

Some Good Stuff

An interesting analysis of the war:

Ehud Ya'ari's Opinion

Zman Biur does the boogie:

Time to Boogie?

Another scholarly post from Eliyahu:

Flaubert's Observations of Jerusalem and the Jews Living There [1850]


Some Positive Benefits of the War

Granting Forgiveness - Gush Katif

Sunday, August 27, 2006

HH #84!

Bringing Redemption To The World

We have learned:

Anyone who says a statement in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world, as the verse says 'And Esther said to the King in the name of Mordechai' (Avot 6:6, Esther 2:22)."

So, in order to bring redemption to the world I'm revealing where I heard the joke that I posted in the previous post.

KIMIZION is a web site that you can read/hear Torah classes in a variety of languages: German, Hebrew, Spanish, French and English. The English section, which is relatively new, contains classes that were given by Rabbi David Samson 20 years ago in Machon Meir. For me this is a real "blast from the past."

I already feel that we are a little bit closer to redemption.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Post For Rosh Chodesh Elul

Elul is a time for seriousness. Here in Israel things have been very serious lately. Those that sat in bomb shelters and those that fought the enemy have had a lot of time to think. Even those that were not personally affected by the war have no doubt done some serious thinking and soul searching lately.

I thought that I would start the month with a joke I just heard. A young student arrived at one of the “mussar” yeshivot (Rabbinic Academies) in Europe during the month of Elul. These Yeshivot put a great emphasis on eliminating bad character traits, such as hautiness. He entered the Beit Midrash (Study Hall). He saw a student learning one of the books of ethics and quietly repeating to himself, “Ich bin a gournisht, Ich bin a gournisht!” (I am a nothing). He sees another student sitting with his head in his hands saying, “I am a worm and not a man.” Yet another student is standing by the window saying, “I am dust and ashes.”

The next day the new yeshiva student sat down in the Beit Midrash and started saying to himself, “I am a nothing, I am a nothing!” One of the older students heard him and rebuked him, “You are a Ba’al Ga’avah (a haughty person)! You’ve only been here for a day, and you already think that you are a nothing?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ha’aretz – Israel’s Newspaper Of Broken Record

There are some who have the audacity to declare that Ha’aretz is Israel’s “newspaper of record.” As one who has lived in Israel for over twenty years, I don’t think that “paper of record” describes Israel’s lunatic leftist rag. It could be better described as Israel’s “newspaper of broken record", perpetually returning to the previous groove and sounding the same chorus over and over again. That’s what they sound like lately as they repeat in two different articles the same mantra: The IDF failed in the recent Lebanon war because it was busy with “occupation” instead of training for war. I don’t know which article came first. Here’s a bit from Ze’ev Schiff, “Policing in Gaza has blunted IDF fighting abilities”:
One of the main conclusions of the war against Hezbollah will be the fact that the fighting abilities of the ground forces deployed by the Israel Defense Forces in Lebanon have been blunted by years of police action in the territories.

Most units, in their training and operations, followed fighting doctrines of police forces and not of standing armies. Hezbollah trains, fights and is equipped as an army, utilizing some of the most advanced anti-tank missiles and other weapons.
Yeah, right. Hezbollah fights as an army, but Schiff “forgot” to mention that they use human shields! The rest of Schiff’s article can be similarly fisked.

The next one is an anonymous editorial entitled, ”Save the IDF”. Here’s a whiff:
There are all kinds of ways to investigate the Lebanon war and learn its lessons, but it seems the main lesson will not be learned in the foreseeable future. The army is not to blame for the fact that it has been dealing with ongoing security in the occupied territories for almost 40 years now - or, more precisely, since 1987, when the Palestinians began a violent revolt against the occupation. The "Israel Policing Forces" are engaged mainly in defending Israel against terror perpetrated by an occupied population. They have neither the resources nor the time to prepare for a real war.
Apparently this is how Israel’s paper of broken record will continue to put a spin on what happened in Lebanon. They certainly won’t let the facts confuse them.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cosmic X in the News

This is cool! Internet producer Mark Mietkiewicz mentioned my blog in the St. Louis Jewish Light Online:
"A country should not risk the lives of its own soldiers in order to protect the enemy's civilians. Unfortunately, Israel has often endangered its own soldiers in war for the fear that using superior firepower may cause civilian deaths among those who indiscriminately kill our civilians without batting an eyelid." (
Thanks Mark!

By the way, the false moral system currently in use by the IDF that I mentioned in the post that Mietkiewicz quoted was also mentioned by Safed Chief Rabbi Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in Besheva:
מפקדי צה"ל הבכירים חייבים להסביר היום לאמהות החיילים שהתגייסו בכל לבם מדוע נשלחו ילדיהן לקרב לפני שמטוסים הפציצו כל בית במרחב. הם חייבים להסביר לתושבי הצפון מדוע היה נכון להשאיר בית שלם במרון א-ראס כשכל לילה נורו משם טילים על צפת וכל הצפון. היום ברור שרוב החקלאים בכפרים הללו היו עובדים ביום בשדותיהם ובלילה אצל נסראללה. האם היה מותר לסכן את חיי תושבי הצפון בגלל המוסר העקום שמגן על חיי הרוצחים הללו

The IDF's senior commanders must explain today to the mothers of the soldiers that enlisted with all of their heart why their children were sent to battle before airplanes bombed every house in the area. They must explain to the inhabitants of the North (of Israel) why it was correct to leave a house intact in Marun A-Ras when every night missiles were fired from there on Safed and all of the North. Today it is clear that most of the farmers in these villages were working by day in their fields and at night by Nasrallah. Was it permissable to endager the lives of the inhabitants of the North because of the twisted morals that shields the lives of these murderers?
We must continue to to work to change the twisted morality code where the IDF needlessly endagers our soldiers.

By the way, this week's issue of Besheva had some good items. Hebrew readers should check out this article about Haifa rabbi She'ar Yashuv Cohen.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Truth Springs Forth From The Land

The "dire straits" war, while not achieving its objectives, has caused certain matters to be clarified.

One of these matters is the deceitful reporting of the MSM. The "Fauxtography" that came out of Lebanon is not something that will quickly be forgotten. All of the wire services involved in this have some serious soul searching to do, if such corrupt people still have souls. For those of you who missed the "fauxtography" or don't know what it is, I am publishing the following links from the LGF Blog:

Green Helmet Admits Staging Photos

Still More Photo Staging Identified

Lebanese Autos Miraculously Survive Airstrikes

Photographer Alleges Unearthing of Bodies

LA Times: Take a Closer Look

CAIR's Fauxtography Scandal

AP Stands Behind Green Helmet Guy

LGF Exclusive: How Much Does It Cost to Buy Global TV News?

Multi-Use Buildings

Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?

Another matter that has been clarified is the real need to "take care" of the rogue states Syria and Iran as Michael Freund writes:
Indeed, by transferring advanced rockets and weaponry to Hizbullah, Teheran and Damascus have just unwittingly proven one of the Bush Administration's central contentions regarding the need for preemptive action against rogue states in the global war on terror.

The two countries have demonstrated that they are ready and willing to share missile systems with a terrorist organization, thus strengthening the case that they must be prevented from obtaining weapons of mass destruction at all costs.
Finally, the concept of unilateral withdrawals as a way of improving security has been dealt a death blow. Oslo proved that negotiating with terrorists does not bring peace, and the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and later on from the Gaza Strip (which also included ethnically cleansing it of its Jewish population) have also proven to be a disaster. Interestingly enough, a committee appointed by Foreign Minister Tzippy Livny, a card carrying member of Olmert's Convergence Cult Kadima, has found that a unilateral Disengagement from most of Judea and Samaria would be dangerous and of little or no value:
Livny, during her tenure as Justice Minister several months ago, appointed the committee to look into various aspects of a unilateral withdrawal from most of Judea and Samaria, as planned by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The committee found a series of problems with the plan, as reported today by Aluf Benn in Haaretz. Among them are legal, security, financial and diplomatic issues, which render the plan essentially non-executable.
So if every cloud has a silver lining, the emergence of these truths is pure gold.

Israel Searches For New Leadership

The plunge in popularity for Olmert and the Kadima Party are truly indicative of what I have been hearing from my real life colleagues. At the time that I write these lines Israelis are searching for new leadership.

The first in line of course is Bibi Netanyahu. He has experience, and he foresaw the danger that Hizbollah posed while other politicians tended to stick their heads in the sand. To Bibi's credit, his tenure as Prime Minister was marked by a dramatic reduction of terrorism. But those who love the land of Israel must remember that Bibi agreed to territorial concessions at Wye, and that he could have prevented the disengagement by leaving Sharon's government earlier but he did not do so in order to push through his economic reforms.

Mordechai Gilat in this ynetnews article seems to be propping up Tzippi Livni as the next Prime Minister. Mr. Gilat, give us a break! She is part of the current leadership that has to go, the sooner the better.

I saw an article on NRG claiming that there are those in the Labor Party that are asking Ehud Barak to return to politics. Okay, you can stop laughing now.

Personally, I would like to see Effie Eitam as the next Prime Minister of Israel. His love and faithfulness to the land of Israel and the people of Israel are based on Torah, and he won't sell them out for his own personal or political comfort. His military experience is also an asset in these troubled times. I know, this is wishful thinking!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Case Against Yisrael Valis Falls Apart

I wanted to blog about this after reading this in Be'Sheva, but Cross Currents beat me to it. Be sure to read this post on Cross Currents that presents the family's side of the story.

When this story was first reported I couldn't help but smell a rat. The media "aleyhom" and demonization were all too familiar me as I had seen these methods used against the settlers and the ultra-Orthodox many times. Read what the press wrote at the time. Also worth noting are these posts at Failed Messiah, Dov Bear, and Jewlicious. Oh, there is also a Wikipedia entry.

May the Valis family be comforted for the loss of their infant child and the trouncing of their good name.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Expelled from Gush Katif, then killed in Lebanon

The title of the jpost article was Evacuated from Gush Katif, then killed in Lebanon, but I feel that the word expelled is much more appropriate than evacuated as the article itself clearly shows:
Seeing his family forced to leave Netzarim in the Gaza Strip last summer did not stop St.-Sgt. Amasa Meshulami, 20, from demonstrating unswerving loyalty in Israel's war against Hizbullah. On Saturday afternoon, Meshulami and the rest of his tank crew were killed by an anti-tank missile in Randuria, south Lebanon.
A personal note: I knew Amasa's grandfather Shlomo Kraus z"l who passed away last year. May the family be comforted with the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Related links:

סמל ראשון עמשא (עמי) משולמי

הצילום האחרון של שי, עידו ועמשא

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The pathetic leadership of Israel

Check out this post from The Jewish Worker. An excerpt:
The war has been completely mismanaged. At every stage, the government has approved the minimum, this has led to unnecessary casualties and lousy results. There has been a role reversal here. The army is supposed to protect the civilians. In this war, the civilians are protecting the army. The political leadership has so far refused to send in enough troops to at least minimize the number of rockets fired because they are worried about troop casualties. What this means is that over 1 million residents in the North are exposed to 150 rockets daily putting their lives and property in danger.

It is 30 days since the fighting started, 150 rockets a day have been falling all this time and only now is the government debating whether to mount a full scale invasion. What has the government been doing for the past 30 days?

Controversy At Funeral Of Fallen Soldier

Shoshi Greenfeld, the sister of Yehuda Greenfeld who one of the 12 reservists killed by a katushya rocket near Kfar Giladi, stirred up a controversy at her brother's funeral yesterday.

She requested that IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss leave the funeral, citing his invovlement in the destruction of Gush Katif. In her eulogy of her brother she urged soldiers not to take part in the current war since Olmert sees it as a means of furthering his "convergence" policy.

Arutz Sheva has a video of the eulogy. Here are some excerpts:
“Yehuda'leh, my dear, loving, innocent brother, with your large azure eyes, your sweet disposition and your delicate soul. I will yet tell the story of your life, of your beauty. But at this time, I am choosing to tell the story of your death.

“In our final telephone conversation I said to you: 'Don't go to be cannon fodder. Olmert said that the operation is a preparation for his ‘Realignment’ Plan [to destroy most of the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria unilaterally, as was done in Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron one year ago -ed.]. Come home. You have a historic opportunity to refuse, so that the pogrom of Gush Katif will not return upon your own home in Michmas [the Binyamin-region community where Yehuda lived -ed.].

"Come home!' I said to you, 'so that the retreats from Lebanon and from Gush Katif that brought us all this death, will end. So that the pogromchiks in the black uniforms that reminded our grandmother of Auschwitz - those who banished us from Gush Katif and cracked our skulls in Amona - won't arrive at your sweet home in Michmas as well, after the fighting ends with some sham cease-fire, and throw you and your family out of your home, and the remains of your garden be transformed into a training ground for murderers – leading to more murder and more killing.'
My opinion on the subject is similar to that of the Council of Yesha Rabbis:
The Council of Yesha Rabbis announced its objection to the treatment of former IDF Chief Rabbi Yisrael Weiss at the funeral of Yehuda Greenfeld Monday, during which the bereaved sister demanded Weiss leave the funeral due to his overseeing the Disengagement.

The council said that although Weiss ignored the call of the “Gadol HaDor Rabbi Avraham Shapira, “it is still forbidden to publicly humiliate him, as was done yesterday, despite the expulsion from Gush Katif.”

The statement said that although the family could not be held responsible for its actions in a time of great pain, the event constituted “a denigration of the honor of a Torah scholar, the IDF chief rabbi, who was the IDF's emissary at the funeral of the holy martyr yesterday.”

Monday, August 07, 2006

Plocker Fell Off His Rocker

In my life I've read some pretty lousy opinion pieces. Sometimes these op-eds include misinformation, sometimes ignorance, sometimes faulty logic. Sever Plocker over at ynet has managed to include all of these elements in his latest article, End of unilateral withdrawals? The title of the article was actually encouraging, and I thought that I may have found another sign of increasing sobriety among one of Israel's leftist journalists. After starting to read, I realized that I had been mistaken:
Just a few months ago, Israel appeared as though it had successfully completed two unilateral withdrawals: from the security zone in Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip.
Indeed! I am sure that the residents of the Western Negev were just thrilled with the results of the Gaza withdrawal. After all, most Israelis get to see fireworks only once a year, on Independence Day. The Gazans supplied the people of Sderot with "fireworks" almost daily. Sever then qualifies his statement:
Although the calm on the borders between Gaza and Lebanon was not complete, occasionally violated by the firing of rockets and mortar shells, the feeling among the public was that Israel had found the magical formula for a settlement with its neighbors, namely unilateral withdrawal from all territories occupied after the Six Day War. To withdraw, to build a fence and a wall – and to hope that nothing terrible would happen.
I wonder who "the public" is in Plocker's eys? I and almost all of my friends never believed in such foolishness. Further on Sever writes an obvious truth that I agree with:
In Middle East reality, however, the unilateral withdrawal was interpreted as folding up, as fleeing as succumbing to terror. The Israeli move was perceived worldwide as a weakness, the inability of Israelis to endure a prolonged war of terror.
It is just too bad that Mr. Plocker did not write this last year. The truth is, he enthusiastically supported Sharon's "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip. Here is what he wrote in February 2005:
The Israeli government, therefore, took a precedent-setting decision and cannot turn back from it. The decision marks Israel's satisfaction with a Jewish, democratic state whose borders are congruent, more or less, with the map of Israel prior to the Six-Day War, with agreed upon corrections.

Any other interpretation of the disengagement plan's approval marks a twisting of the truth, perpetrated by politicians who need to face, in public, the change in doctrines, views, and beliefs they held in the past.

The Greater Israel dream has dissipated and is no longer on the agenda, at least in this generation.

Israel under the leadership of Ariel Sharon is pulling out of Gaza and evacuating all its communities from there as a first step – and not a last step – ahead of a return to its proper borders.
So much for the pundit Plocker circa 2005. I return to Plocker circa 2006, where he writes a real whopper:
It may perhaps sound strange to Israeli ears, but when the Arabs sign agreements, they usually abide by them. Even the Hizbullah and Hamas made an effort to abide by the agreements made with them.
Ribono Shel Olam! Is there anyone who knows anything about the Israeli-Arab conflict that can read those lines and keep a straight face? The Arab violations of the Oslo Agreement are recent history! Plocker then suggests that we return to the old formula of "land for peace":
Agreements the dovish camp describes as "Land for Peace," and as Benjamin Nethanyahu put it during his term in office as prime minister, "if they give – they'll get; if they don't give – they won't get."
This suggestion has already been tried, and it has failed. The only true path to peace is to fulfill the Torah commandment of conquering and inheritting the land, without apologies and excuses.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Olmert: Lebanon outcome to create momentum for convergence plan

This has to be one of the stupidest things ever said by an Israeli Prime Minister. I recommend for Hebrew readers to check out the Hebrew article at ynet's Hebrew site. Up until now there are more than 1300(!) talkbacks, most of them from angry Israelis very critical of Olmert.

For The 9th Of Av

Here is a well known story worth repeating:
During Napoleon's campaign against Russia, as he passed through a small Jewish shtetl, he expressed a desire to see the inside of a synagogue. By chance it was the fast of the Ninth of Av, and the Jews were sitting in darkness on the floor weeping as they prayed. When it was explained to Napoleon that the reason for the weeping was for the destruction of the Temple, he asked, "When did this happen?"
"Two thousand years ago," he was told.
Upon hearing this, the Emperor declared, "A people who knows how to remember its land for two thousand years, will certainly find the way to return." (Folk story told by the Jews of Russia; Dov Noi, Golah veEretz Yisrael)
And I add: A people who knows how to remember its Holy Temple for two thousand years, will certainly find the way to rebuild it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Islam Against The World

Conventional "wisdom" among the state of Israel's socialist founders and their students is that if you throw enough money and land to the Arabs everything will be just fine and dandy. This idea has been proven wrong by history, especially the history of the past 15 years, where territorial concessions and massive aid have only fanned the fires of Arab violence.

Read this article by Prof. Oz Almog, "Islam Against The World". It is good to see that people in Academia are finally starting to understand the enemy, even if they still have a long way to go.
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