Friday, July 29, 2016

The Face of a Hypocrite

This is the face of a hypocrite. 

Rami Hamdallah is the so-called Prime Minister of the so-called Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah. He's also a hypocrite of gigantic proportions. It boggles the mind how he dares to stand in front of cameras and open his mouth. It really does.

He says that the Palestinian Authority will not allow Israel to hold on to the dead bodies of terrorists, presumably those who died in the act of terror and those who were caught afterwards.

And yet...and yet...these "people" have been holding the remains of at least one Israeli soldier for two years, torturing his family and this country. They have returned the bodies of soldiers with clear proof they were tortured and mutilated. You won't allow us to do to you what you've been doing to us for decades? Yeah, sure...I'm sure that's reasonable, fair and...oh right, I'm talking to a terrorist leader of a terrorist organization or a people that supports terror and murder and hate and violence.

Well, dear "sir" - you can take that and shove it where the sun don't shine. For once, I am awfully tempted to use one of those four letter words.

On the other hand, our Prime Minister, who was actually elected in free and democratic elections, is best at refusing something when others order him to do it...her's hoping he'll take his God-given talent for speech and tell the Palestinian Authority where to go..

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Keeping the Sabbath

On my first trip to Israel when I was 16 years old, I discovered, truly for the first time, the deepest and truest meaning of Shabbat, our Sabbath day. For years in America, I had adopted the traditions, attempted to follow the rules, but what was missing was the absolute depth and beauty of sharing that day with others in song, sharing meals, simply living in the moment. My family was not religious and so I was mostly on my own, sailing through the mechanics.

Only in Israel, sharing each Shabbat day with hundreds of other teenagers who were also enjoying the experience of Israel did I suddenly understand why the rules are what they are and how incredible a gift we as a people have been given.

While I was here, one Shabbat was shared with another group of kids. This one included girls who had recently been "converted" from Reform Judaism to Orthodoxy and the sudden plunge that they experienced was so very different from my slow and easy (and lonely) journey from Conservative Judaism to Orthodox. Though I understood that these girls had been quickly taught that they must be modest, I found their climbing under the blankets in an all-girls room to be a bit absurd, but I held back figuring, with all the superiority a 16 year old can muster, that they needed to be helped along and accepted, not criticized.

Later that night, after yet another amazing meal, hearing 300 kids singing and clapping and even dancing, I was not even a bit bothered the first time one of them complained that the last person out of the room, whoever that was, had forgotten to shut the light. So here we were, four girls in a room with a light on, while Jewish law forbade us from closing it during the Sabbath.

I accepted the situation and turned on my side, but this one girl said out loud, "Oh, it's so hard to sleep with the light on."

I closed my eyes and waited for sleep, "I just wish the light hadn't been left on," she said.

A few minutes later, "It's just so hard to sleep with the light on, too bad it can't be closed."

And a few minutes later, "It's so hard to sleep with the light on."

And then somehow, a crazy thought entered my mind, "Are you hinting that we should shut the light?" I asked her as I sat up in bed and looked at her.

Such incredible relief filled her face with joy, "YES! My rabbi told me that I wasn't allowed to turn the lights on and off but that I could hint to someone else to do it!"

I looked at her somewhat surprised myself and yet also relieved at having the mystery solved, "to a non-Jew," I told her. "We can't turn the lights on or off either."

David is home for a long weekend. He's talking about the army, funny stories, serious ones and I listen and smile. He's happy. He looks amazing. He was so silly, so playful today. He hasn't been home in more than 2 weeks and I've missed him a lot.

His grandmother asks him to tell her one good thing about being in the army, "You get a lot of exercise," he answered.

"Where you are sleeping, is it air-conditioned?" I ask.

The answer is "sort of." There are machines there, but to cut down on costs, the air conditioners automatically go off every two hours and then someone has to turn them back on. This works just fine during the week, but on the Sabbath, the air conditioners go off and can't be turned back least not by the Jewish soldiers in David's unit.

And so they hinted and explained to a Druze soldier who had heard of such practices but never really experienced them. It took a few minutes but he finally understood what was needed after a sudden power outage cut the electricity. Quite willing to help his fellow soldiers, he turned the electricity back on...everyone thanked him.

Then, he smiled, closed the electricity, laughed and walked out of the room. A minute or two later, he came back in and turned it back on and everyone joined in the laughter.

Another soldier who serves in his unit is from Russia. He is not Jewish, though going through the conversion process. David said that on Friday in the middle of the night, the Russian soldier woke because  it was very hot in the room. He got up and turned the air conditioner back on and then, thinking of the other soldiers, he went room to room to turn the air conditioners on again for the other soldiers.

Keeping the Sabbath is not always the easiest thing to do. Years ago, I found myself in Jerusalem and spent the night with the light on because it was Shabbat and I couldn't turn the light back on. Now, so many years later, my son's army life is made that much easier by two non-Jews - both of whom have volunteered to serve in the army.

We are commanded to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. This holy Shabbat, Davidi will be home to share in it with us. He left a short time ago to visit his friends. I've got corned beef boiling on the stove top; chicken cooling in the oven. Soon I'll make the dough for the challah and leave it to rise overnight.

Years before my first trip, I knew that I wanted to live in Israel; now, as I watch my son and hear the stories he tells me about his life in the army over the last two weeks, I smile. I wish I could go back and whisper in my 16 year old year...have faith, you'll get back here; you'll raise your children here and they will be everything you dreamed of and so many things you never imagined.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

You Can't...Just Did

It feels like it's been forever since he was last home. It's been 16 days, just over 2 weeks. I've spoken to him while he was on base, sent him messages, Whatsapped him pictures (yeah, in today's world, Whatsapp is a verb...who knew?).

He walked through the door looking so wonderful. Tired, thin. Wonderful. Hungry. Home, at last.

While he was gone, someone stole my phone. Okay, to be fair, I left it somewhere and rather than take it to the front of the store and say, "hey, someone left their phone here." They stole it; shut it down and from the tracking app I have on it, apparently have taken out the SIM card and acquired themselves a new phone.

It is at times like this that I remind myself - what you steal in this life, you pay for in the next. I've applied that belief several times in the face of injustice and so here too, I offer that warning to the thief.

In any event, I borrowed a phone and went to Pelephone to get a new SIM and, as is the way with salespeople, managed to leave there with a bargain including a new phone for me and a spare phone as well. As for me, goodbye Nexus 6, I loved you well. Hello, Galaxy S6, I could definitely do worse!

Davidi walked in and I asked him if he wanted the spare phone. It's about the same level as his current phone, which is still working fine so he said he didn't need it. He then opened the package and took out the earphones.

"I'll just take the earphones," he said as he turned and walked upstairs.

"You can't," I started to say.

"Just did," he responded as I heard his boots climb.

Why that makes me smile, I have no idea...but yeah, he's got the earphones...and I have him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Death of the Democratic Party

Two images dance in my mind: the first troubling, the second, a stab to the heart, an ending, a death.

The first is a picture from a few days ago taken at the Democratic National Convention. It is a picture of flag of a country that does not exist. They have no language, no culture, no capital, no borders. Congratulations, they have a flag.

They call it the Palestinian flag, and it is. What it is not, is the flag of Palestine - a place that existed only as part of the Ottoman Empire, then the British Mandate. A place from which Jordan was formed, a place that could have been born in 1948 at the same time that my country was reborn. Israel was recreated on our ancient homeland on May 14, 1948. The dream of Palestine was aborted by its people who decided to take a gamble that they didn't have to settle for just half. They gambled, they lost, and they have been whining and murdering innocents ever since.

This flag, waved in pride on the floor of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is a flag that represents violence, intransigence, and terror. That there isn't an American flag in sight at the DNC is more telling than shocking.

But the second picture, this one turns shock into fury. This one proclaims more clearly than any other, that the Democratic party of my youth is dead. It was murdered by left-wing extremists, ignorant people like Bernie Sanders and others who have the audacity to try to convince long-time Democrats that they "love" Israel but don't like the current government.

The irony of this picture, taken outside the DNC is that below the Israeli flag being held above the flames is a poster of Bernie Sanders.

The tragedy of this picture is that it happened in the United States of America, a close ally of Israel; that it happened in Philadelphia, a city that represents freedom and liberty and justice, not mob mentality, violence and misplaced anger.

And more, theses two pictures together represent the death of the Democratic Party of my youth; of the fliers I folded and delivered door to door, of the nights I listened to my mother and others plan strategies for strengthening the party in our town, our state.

Police acted quickly and arrested many of the demonstrators, who also burned the US flag. One could argue and say that the Democratic party is not responsible for what a crowd of imbeciles do outside their convention. They could argue that they aren't responsible for the fact that a few morons waved the Palestinian flag on the floor of their convention.

But the fact is, that if the death of the Democratic party is not represented by the waving of Palestinian flags and the burning of Israeli flags, it is represented by the lack of American flags there on the podium and around the room. It is there in the destruction of the US military instigated and conducted by their president over the last 8 years.

Whatever speeches are spoken in Philadelphia, whatever voices are raised, by far, the loudest sound heard from the Democrats today is the sound of it turning its back on America.

You Can Tell a Man By the Company He Keeps

...and you can tell a woman by the company she keeps as well.

They donated to her foundation...and then the Obama Administration/State Department closed arms deals...

And rumor has it as much as 90% of these funds never reached the people they were intended to benefit. Corruption, thy name is Hillary.

Time to Admit this Great and Tragic Truth

This morning, in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, two terrorists walked into a church and murdered an 84 year old Catholic priest. In the early morning hours, as the priest was conducting mass, they entered the church with the specific and clear intention to murder.
They violated the holiness, the sanctity of that holy place because...because...

You know what. Stop there. The because leads you to madness.

This is Jacques Hamel. He was 84 when he was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in France. He was a priest but more, he was an old man who hurt no one. He was murdered in the name of Allah. He was murdered in the name of intolerance. They entered a church and violated the sanctity of that place. The priest was murdered because he was a Catholic, an infidel. Yes, that's right. According to Islam, this man of the cloth was an infidel.

This is Hadas Fogel. She was only four months old when she was murdered by Islamic terrorists in a terror attack in Israel. She was a baby, but more, she was the essence of innocence and she too was murdered in the name of hatred and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that's right. According to Islam, this child, this baby of only four months old was an infidel and a worthy and honorable target.

And this is Hallel Yaffa Ariel. She was just 13 and a half when she was murdered by an Islamic terrorist in a terror attack in Israel. She was in her bedroom, asleep when he entered her room and began stabbing her. She was a child on the brink of so much more when she was murdered in the name of hate and martyrdom and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that's right. This sleeping child is, according to Islam, a legitimate and honorable kill.
I keep wondering what level of violence will it take to shock the world into action. They have burned people, hanged them, decapitated them. They have stabbed, stoned, bombed, and shot people. They murdered a Hadas, and many other babies across the globe. The murdered Hallel as she slept, and many other young girls and boys. And today, they murdered a priest in cold blood.

What will it take for the world to be able to say - without lowering their voices - this was the work of Islamic extremism? This was Islamic terror? All No. NO.

But today, and yesterday, last week and last month and last year and ten years ago and twenty. In Madrid, New York, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Jerusalem, Brussels, Itamar, Nice, Kiryat Arba, Orlando, Normandy, Afula and on and on and on.

Say it. Islamic terror. Stop it. Stop it. Be shocked. Be angry. Scream out your anger. Stop terrorism.

Stop them now...before they come to your city, as they have come to mine. Stop them because they will not stop. They will come to yours, as they have come for mine. 

You and yours...that's right...YOU are an infidel and they want you dead. They want your way of life crushed. Does that scare you? Does that terrify you to the depths of your soul?


Monday, July 25, 2016

From One Soldier's Mother to Another

Arranging a holiday in Israel can be very interesting. It seems like the whole country goes on vacation at the same time. Occupancy in the north during the summer and in the south during the winter reaches, quite literally, close to 100%. Get that spot early, or you're not going to find a place.

We found a place - or at least my amazing older daughter did. And then we found out that David would be out of the army...the week before. So we decided to check around and see if we could find somewhere else to stay. I started calling and realized the week we want coincides with a huge musical festival up north...wonderful.

I called a bunch of places and then got desperate enough to ask one if perhaps she knew of another. I explained that I wanted my "soldier" to join us. That we already have a place the following week, but I really, really want to give him that time, that break. I've never gone on vacation without him and I don't want to start now if I can help it.

"Where does he serve?" she asked.

"Givati,," I answered.

And then, the most amazing thing happened. She started to speak. I'll write down what I remember as best I can,

"My son served in Givati too. It was very hard. You know they go into Gaza, right?"

Yes, I told her, already hearing the dread pour into my voice. "I don't want him in Givati," I confessed.

"Listen to me. This is what you have to do. Every day, you have to give tzedukah [charity]. Find a poor family and every day, give them a few shekels. And pray. Say to yourself, 'he should go in peace and he should serve in peace and he should be safe and come home in peace. Him and all of the soldiers of Israel."

I told her again how much it scares me; she told me again that she it will be okay, just to give charity every day. Can you imagine speaking with a complete stranger and having her bless your child and offer you her support? It happens here all the time. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

My thoughts...mine alone. Not meant to interfere. No money was distributed, no attempt is being made to infiltrate the US to undermine any campaign (as compared to what the Obama administration did during the last Israeli elections).

I'm smart enough to know that if we were stupid enough to attempt this, America...or what is left of it...would respond to us as we responded to Obama (Israel's Message to Obama).

So, I offer my thoughts...and mine alone...on the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton:

I am more amazed by the endless need to attack the other person that typifies almost all Facebook posts. And the only posts I've seen the have been positive about either candidate are usually lies. The best single post I've seen is quite simple "We're Screwed, 2016".

I have been accused of being interested in only one aspect of the US elections - how the candidate relates to Israel. I can't totally deny this because while I believe which candidate you choose will impact on your future economic situation and perhaps some personal freedoms, I don't think the very lives of most Americans hangs on the balance of how the next election goes.

Potentially every Israeli life, including and especially the soldiers of Israel, could be on the line. I am proud of my country, Israel, for taking the necessary steps and cultivating other relationships outside the one with the US. This will be needed if Clinton is elected.

But I will also tell you that again and again, I see that what happens to Israel first, spreads to the rest of the world. We lived through terrible days of suicide bombing attacks, now they are very rare in Israel (thank God and the IDF). While terrorism is still a reality in Israel, far more attacks are averted or mitigated by our strong and constant attempts to fight it. We watch as horrible things happen in Brussels, Orlando, London, San Bernadino, Paris, Nice, and now Munich. Left unchecked, terror will spread and spread. And who the US chooses in this election, will likely have a direct impact on how the US fights terror (or even if it fights terror), in the coming years.

What boggles the mind is how many of you now agree Obama was a disaster, just as we here in Israel said he would be, but are prepared to go with Clinton when we say the same thing about her and the policies she will implement, the people she will empower. Fool us once, shame on him...and Obama did. Fool us twice even, shame on him...and Obama did. Fool you three times, and Clinton will, shame on you.

At some point, however, you can't fight stupid. Do what you gotta do, America. The world is watching. Your society is imploding. It is horrible to watch from outside. Those of us who live in Israel by choice still care deeply for the US and it is very painful to sit here and watch you choose between two such horrendous options. Worse, to watch as you pick the worst of the worse.

Clinton has now picked a Vice President who has a clear anti-Israel position. Oh yeah, he'll mouth the words about supporting our backs...just like Obama did. But like Obama and Clinton, they despise the Israeli government, and the vibrant Israeli democracy that brought it to power.

I firmly believe that in four years, if you elect Clinton, America will be weaker and more isolated, thousands more will have died in terror attacks. As for Israel, you may not believe this next statement, but I do...we here in Israel will be fine. We are strong. We love this land and will defend it.

Four years ago, when Obama was re-elected, I wanted Israel to send the US a message, "God bless you and keep you safe...see you in four years."

Well, it's four years later. If Clinton is elected, I hope we'll send that message because there will be no reason to attempt a closer relationship. Israel gets financial aid...yeah, we do...and we paid for that aid right back in many ways. It is not at all clear that Israel needs the US more than the US needs Israel - ask your military...or what is left of it after Obama has systematically worked to destroy it.

Look at the innovation coming out of Israel. I'll tell you a secret...ready? What you see is nothing compared to what is happening here. You've seen pieces of it - Iron Dome - that WE developed, to meet and knock missiles out of the sky to protect our people, and now a Tunnel Discovery technology that is finding and destroying Hamas tunnels.

What else is there? Don't worry - there's more. We'll deal with what we have to, no matter who you elect. With great disgust and sadness, I hope it will be Donald Trump.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because I'd rather stand with the United States before the Russians, the Germans, Asians and Africans.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because a united stand against Iran is the only way out of the dangers ahead that would (and will) be presented by a nuclear Iran. My country will fly alone if it has to but it would be better for the west if it wasn't Israel alone.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because I don't think the US military can survive another years of Obama under a new name.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because he is a Washington outsider and it's time to bring in someone from the outside to change the corruption that has robbed America of so much of its greatness.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because Israel is an important ally and deserves better treatment than it got from Obama or will get from Clinton and Caine, who supported Obama's ongoing attempts to humiliate and insult Israel's leaders.

I hope it will be Donald Trump, because the alternative is so much worse and because the next few years will force America to deal with very similar problems that Europe is struggling with right places like Paris, Nice, Brussels, London, and Munich.

I hope it will be Donald Trump...

I hope it won't be Hillary Clinton. I hope it won't be Tim Kaine.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Watch This Video - Best 21 Minutes You'll Have Today

Strung in the middle of this 21 minute video are three special videos, two of which I've seen before.

It's called A Miracle of Israel...I think the title is wrong. It could be THE Miracle of Israel because Israel is truly a miracle and this video shows that. It could be The Miracles of Israel because this video shows at least two miracles have have happened.

Turn up your speakers, watch my beautiful country unfold before your eyes. Listen to a soldier describe what happened when his unit went into Gaza. Let me know if you manage to listen and not cry...

My only complaint about this video is that it is only 21 minutes long. I could have watched it for hours...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In My Little Country Today

In my little country today, it was sunny and the streets of Jerusalem were filled with people shopping, walking, eating. It was a normal summer day in a normal country. There are those who want to say life is not normal in Israel, but it really is. Kids play in the sunshine; parents balance jobs and kids and camp and summer plans.

Planes are flying in and planes are flying out. Sales; school supplies, the train beeps and then continues on its path.

I went to work, went shopping and bought some new towels, came home and started cooking. Normal. Really.

Same road, NOT our car, someone else. No injuries
Nothing exploded (at least so far); no one was stabbed. For that alone, we are grateful. About four hours ago, my husband called to tell me that after his current meeting, he had yet another one set up. He's going to be home late.

Two hours later, on his way there, Arabs threw a rock at his car. He saw the rock as it came towards the car, heard the boom as it hit. He did the right thing - he kept going.

He called me and told me what happened; I called the police. He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. The car doesn't even seem to be damaged, but who can tell? It's an old car and anyway, he's fine.

Another car was hit, it's windshield broken by rocks; another car, further down the road and a bit later, was also hit - this time by a bullet, which was found in the car.

In all incidents, no one was hurt, thank God.

We called the police and explained where it happened. A short time later, someone from the army called me to ask the exact location and ask what had happened. I told them what I could, that I wasn't in the car, and gave them my husband's telephone number.

And then, as is customary in Israel, I wished him a "quiet" night. Quiet is a euphemism for peaceful, terror-attack free. And then, he wished me one back. That made me smile. He's out there on duty tonight; I'm here in my home.

So, all I can do is wish for peace and quiet in my little country tonight. 

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