Thursday, March 18, 2010

The King David Hotel

The King David hotel is the hotel that celebrities and high ranking politicians stay at when they visit Jerusalem.

I was downtown and took some pics.

Here's a pic of the entrance:

The back side:

I wonder what King David would say about the hotel that uses his name.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A New Song For the Passover Seder

Are you looking for something different and exciting to say at this year's seder? Here's a song that you can recite or sing before "Chad Gadya":

On the Eve of the Fifteenth
by Cosmic X

On the eve of the fifteenth it will be so nice,
The Temple Mount free of foxes and mice.
Fine wine, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and paschal sacrifice.

Jerusalem is being built, with its holy sites,
The prayers are soaring up to the heights,
In spite of the anti-Semites and other mental mites,

On the eve of the fifteenth...

We shall be free from B.H. Obama,
Secret sympathizer of the odious Osama,
Born in Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaii and Havana,

On the eve of the fifteenth...

We shall be free from the full of vice Joe,
Who at Sheikh Munis University put on a show,
Recieved raging applause from the arrogant low.

On the eve of the fifteenth...

We shall be free from the Secretary of Dirt,
To kiss slimy Suha herself she did exert,
Poor partner for life of the cigar wielding pervert,

On the eve of the fifteenth...

We shall be free of J Street, The New York Times and other things rotten,
Rahm your heart, your God you have forgotten,
When the they go down it is down to the bottom,

On the eve of the fifteenth...

It's time to come home, sell your houses and cars,
Leave behind your baseballs, shopping malls and bars,
Because when we go up we go up to the stars,

On the eve of the fifteenth it will be so nice,
The Temple Mount free of foxes and mice.
Fine wine, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and paschal sacrifice.

By the way, "He who says something in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world"(Avot 6:6). Therefore, if you recite this at your seder, please say it in the name of "Cosmic X".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations and the Jblogosphere

My fellow jbloggers have their say:

Obama is taking on a people that built an exact duplicate of 770 in Israel. Does he really think they're going to let a Cossack like him raid their neighborhood.
I think that JoeSettler owes the Cossacks an apology for comparing them with Obama.

On the other hand, I would not put it past Bibi to have arranged this whole crisis just in order to get the meeting delayed, after he failed in his previous attempts...
Could be!

Batya hits the nail on the head:
The more Israel apologizes and acts contrite about building in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, the more we'll be rebuked/condemned by the United States.

Soccer Dad
reveals the stupidity of U.S. policy:
If the administration thought that putting pressure on Israel was the way to bring peace to the Middle East, it was terribly wrong. All it is doing is encouraging its (and Israel's) enemies.

Sultan Knish teaches us what an insult really is:
More to the point did Israeli TV air calls for a Jihad against America, as Palestinian Arab TV did? Did Israel name a square after the murderer of an American photographer, as the Palestinian Authority did? Did an Israeli Anchorman do a skit in blackface during Obama's visit, as a Turkish anchorman did during Obama's visit to Turkey? Are Israeli religious institutions issuing Fatwahs against America, as Al Azhar University, which Obama visited and spoke at, has done? Are Israeli leaders funding terrorism against America, as the Saudi King, before whom Obama bowed, does?

Akiva teaches us who our friends are:
First, if actions such as defending yourself (as humanly as possible in this world) from a rain of rockets and building in clearly Jewish areas turns away friends - then they aren't friends. Second, if these types of actions cause this level of row, then literally it's impossible to live and please such "friends".

Update(Ben Chorin):
It seems sacrilegious to discuss mundane matters when my head is elsewhere, but it's all connected. I mean, of course, this spat we're having with Obama. A few thoughts about that. First, it is becoming more and more clear that Obama is a genuine third-worlder. He has abandoned Honduras, Iranian dissidents, Poland and the Czech Republic and Israel. He has appointed (or attempted to appoint) genuine U.S.-hating wingnuts like Van Jones and Jennifer Daskal to sensitive positions. This is not Carter-style weakness. This is an administration that has embraced the vision of the anointed big-time and seeks to create a new world order in which the West is significantly weakened.

Hurva Synagogue Reopens!

Wow. I really wish that I could have been there:
An “invitation only" joyous ceremony is taking place at this moment in the Old City in Jerusalem, where the centuries-old Hurva synagogue has come back to life after having been destroyed by the Jordanians in the War for Independence in 1948.

Muslim and Palestinian Authority leaders claim that Monday’s dedication is a “provocation” and the prelude to a Jewish takeover of the Temple Mount. Security is heavy in the Old City as thousands of Arabs and Bedouin head for the capital"to defend" the Al-Aksa mosque.

“Hurva” literally means “ruin” and is located in the heart of the Old City, where a new Torah scroll was ushered into the rebuilt house of worship in Sunday. The original building stood as a landmark in the 16th century, and its well known feature in modern times was the 50-foot arch that remained standing after the Jordanian occupation. That arch now is part of the completed synagogue.

Valuable items of Judaica, such as a platinum menorah and works of silver, were stolen by the Jordanians and never returned. Jordan barred Jews from visiting the site as well as the Western Wall (Kotel) while it controlled the area.. It also prohibited Christians from visiting their holy sites, but Israel opened the gates of religious freedom when the Old City was restored to the Jewish State in the Six-Day War in 1967

The destruction in 1948 wasn’t the first time it was demolished. Muslims had lent Jews money in the 1700s to build the house of worship but destroyed it after the Jewish community, living in poverty, was unable to repay the debt.

The restored synagogue, a replica of the synagogue as it stood in the 19th century, is the result of four years of work.
Nobody sent me an invitation! :(

The truth is even if I had one, I am not sure that I would have attended. Life is pretty hectic now. Peisach is just two weeks away. There is so much to do!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So You Think You Know How to Play Guitar

Here is a version of George Gershwin's "Summertime" from the opera "Porgy and Bess". This song has served musicians for decades as a vehicle for improvisation. I think that Gershwin would be very impressed by this version:

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

President Shimon Peres:
Peres emphasized the importance of military service and said that those who serve become better citizens than those who don't, who "lose their way."

"If anyone is defending Israel, it's the army," he continued. "The state cannot allow the existence of gaps in recruitment, which endanger the state. Everyone must serve his country. Whoever wants to avoid war must have a strong army. Only a good and powerful army serves as a deterrent."

Excuse me Mr. Peres but:
Elder statesman of Israel's parliament, Shimon Peres, 83, falsified the biographical information on his official Knesset Web page to imply military service that he never performed, journalist David Bedein has claimed in the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Peres, branded as a perennial loser (having never won a major election) and now pulling out all the stops to mount a last-gasp campaign for president, describes his military record as follows:

"Military Service Haganah; IDF; Temporary Head of Naval Services, 1950"

But, Bedein claims, citing his biographer and official records, Peres never served in the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, nor was he the "temporary head of Naval Services" in 1950.

In Peres' biography on his official Ministry of Foreign Affairs page, the facts are presented differently: "In Israel's War of Independence (1947-48), Peres was responsible for arms purchases and recruitment, and in 1948 was appointed head of the naval services."

Bedein reports that Peres was ridiculed early in his career for not having served in any military capacity in the war of independence for the nascent Jewish state. The official Israel Ministry of Defense Lexicon of Israeli Defense, published in 1976 when Peres was minister of Defense, identifies Peres as only holding a desk job at the new Israel Ministry of Defense, "responsible for naval matters," appointed to that position in 1949.

Peres' office, asked for a response on the misrepresentation of Peres on the official site of the Israeli Knesset, declined to comment.

His official biographer, Dr. Michael Bar Zohar, however, confirmed that Peres never served in the IDF, Bedein reported.
Once I had a conversation with the late Rechavam Ze'evi, may God avenge his blood. He told me that Peres never served in the IDF. I told him that I think that I once saw a picture of him in uniform. Ze'evi replied that the picture must have been taken on Purim!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dubai Police Incriminate Themselves in Mabhouh "Assassination" Tapes

As time passes since the death of arch-terrorist Mahmoud Mabhouh the pronouncements of the Dubai Police get more and more pompous. Dubai's Chief of Police Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim tells us that he wants to arrest Mossad chief Meir Dagan and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in connection with the assassination! This guy's chutzpah knows no boundaries.

The surveillance camera footage released by the Dubai police incriminate themselves more than anyone else. (The clips can be seen at the bottom of this post.) They unknowingly implicated themselves in a number of offenses, especially the crime of being unbearably haughty.

For instance, in the first clip at 7:17 the editors add the following caption:
"14:30 A suspect from the surveillance team arrives at another location anticipating the arrival of the victim, as he was known to frequent this hotel."

Here Dubai's law enforcement officials inform us that they knew that Mabhouh, a senior member of the Hamas terrorist group, one who is known to have murdered Jews and probably Arabs as well, was "known to frequent" a certain hotel in their jurisdiction. The Dubai police, instead of arresting this murderer, harbored him in their midst. Let's issue a warrant for police chief Tamim's arrest!

Another revelation is in the caption of the third clip at 4:55:
Possible ways of gaining entry:

- Entry by reprogramming the lock on the door to room 230, as the system shows an attempt to do this during this time.

- Kevin or Gail could have knocked on the victim's door posing as hotel staff.

The Dubai police don't know how Mabhouh's room was entered. The truth is, they don't even really know if the room was entered by anyone other than Mabhouh himself. Mabhouh's room was out of the range of the surveillance cameras, as one can see from the diagram shown in the second clip at 1:35. This gap in knowledge did not prevent the Dubai police as labeling certain people as belonging to "the execution team" (for example in the second clip at 8:41 and 9:02).

I wonder if the Dubai police tampered with these tapes. In most of the footage from the various surveillance cameras the date and time are integral part of the frame, appearing on the top or the bottom of the screen. This is not so in the footage from the Al-Bustan hotel. If the time and date were not embedded in the footage, where are the Dubai police getting the times of the events that took place there? If they were part of the original footage, why were they edited out?

If you look at the third clip at 9:44, "Gail Foliard" seems enter the frame in a very sudden fashion. It seems to me that the tape was edited here. I would be interested in what experts have to say on the matter. If the tape was indeed edited, then we know why the time was also cut out of the footage.

If the footage is authentic, the characters, with their forged passports and wigs are indeed suspicious. The Dubai police mentioned that some of the suspects were in Dubai more than once. It seems to me that if Tamim would have kept his big mouth shut, the police would had a better chance of catching the suspects.

Here are the clips:

Clip 1:

Clip 2:

Clip 3:

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