Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Greatest Threat to Israel Today

...comes from within.

Four days ago, I posted this to The Times of Israel. The first paragraph stated:
I fully expect this post to be rejected (as a few of my posts have been) but I don’t care…because this time I’ll have my say…even if it is rejected, even if it is buried. I won’t hold back; I won’t look for words that will pass through left glasses.
It was not rejected. I was told I had to change the word "journalist" because, said the Times of Israel editor, the person is not a journalist. So I edited "journalist" to "blogger/new media editor" and resubmitted it...and it was published and got almost 900 shares, was seen by many more, and had over 70 comments...TODAY it was taken down.


Originally posted to the Times of Israel on March 27; removed on March 31....

A Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier in Hebron, one of the sources of violence for 6  long months. A soundless video made "coincidentally" by a B'Tselem who just happened to be there. The soundless part here is the key. What you can't hear is what proves the truth. But the truth has never been a priority when it comes to B'Tselem.

Times of Israel, like others, shared the video and then an employee went on Facebook and accused, tried, and convicted the 19-year-old soldier...more, she sentenced him to "rot in jail."

I was very upset. She is a loving mother, a gifted writer, photographer. She is kind and sweet...and she's also quite left wing. She loves Israel, wants peace and usually open-minded enough to believe that even those who disagree with her politically can be good parents, good writers, good photographers, love Israel, and desperately crave peace.

A second video, this time with sound surfaced. You can now hear eyewitnesses call out that the terrorist, who is wearing a closed jacket on a relatively hot day, might have a bomb and is moving. She went on Facebook and cited the second video with the word, "Important."

What she did not do is apologize to the 19 year old soldier that she had convicted and sentenced as a cold-blooded murderer. She didn't actually call him a cold-blooded murderer...but who else but a cold-blooded murderer or the vilest of human beings would you want to rot in jail? I asked her to apologize. She refused. "I'm not apologizing until a trial exonerates him," she responded.

And that took my level up to outrage. Those words can only mean one thing - this boy is guilty until proven innocent. That is not the way MY Israel works. That's not the way democracy works. That's the way Palestinian society works but thank you very much, this is Israel not Palestine, not Gaza or Iran.

People came forward saying that the soldier was correct. The IDF says it's investigating...and then, according to the Times of Israel, "The IDF rejects the claim that the soldier believed the Palestinian he shot in the head was armed." The article says even if he truly did believe the terrorist was armed - which is unlikely since the "assailant" had already been cleared by the IDF - the soldier still broke protocol.

Notice the word - "assailant"...who just STABBED a soldier...assailant... BBC/CNN/Reuters would be so proud of the Times of Israel, but here in Israel, we call them TERRORISTS...

So this statement, that the IDF is maintaining that the terrorist was checked makes no sense for several reasons:
  • if someone checked the terrorist, the medics were then required to treat him and there were no medics around the wounded terrorist. So, is the IDF investigating this. The soldier was not badly wounded so by IDF/MADA protocol, why was the unarmed assailant not being treated?
  • The officer couldn't clear the terrorists without opening his jacket and why would he then button the jacket back up on a day when it was 70+ degrees? When shot, the terrorist was completely dressed. That's not the way it works. In Israel, they remove the terrorist's clothing to look for wires, etc.
  • If the officer checked the terrorist, why did at least two separate people cry out a warning (“That terrorist is still alive, the dog! Don’t let him attack us!” and “It looks like he has a bomb on him,” and “Until a sapper comes, nobody touches him!”). You want us to believe a soldier went over, checked the terrorist, nicely dressed him back up (all without being noticed), didn't call the medics over and didn't tell the medics that the field was clear and safe?

We've been in this latest intifada for 6 months. Do you know how many pictures of terrorists I've seen after they've been checked? Dozens? Hundreds? Not ONE of them still had their jackets on. In fact, most of them weren't wearing pants any longer either. I have never seen an IDF soldier carefully re-dress a known terrorist and this one was known to be a terrorist because he was shot in the act and the medics were in the process of treating the bleeding soldier he had just attacked.

If our 19-year-old soldier shot the terrorist without the information that the terrorist had been cleared, the fault lies with the commanders on the scene because without that critical piece of information, the soldier acted quickly to neutralize a threat that could have killed them all

This Times of Israel employee then wrote:
He should not have shot the neutralized Palestinian assailant in the head. Say it with me: He should not have shot the NEUTRALIZED Palestinian assailant in the head.
Friends, please: all evidence clearly indicates this soldier did something terrible. For goodness sake, stop calling him a hero.
The IDF is full of heroes - some of them are your very own children. Let's honor THEM. Stop defending him.
You're HURTING Israel when you defend him. You're hurting our parents and our children and our HISTORY and our FUTURE.
The evidence suggests the soldier (and the medics calling out the warnings) were not told anything about the terrorist being checked and therefore the threat was not neutralized. And the condition of the body of the terrorists suggests the Times of Israel report is inaccurate as well. No way in hell was that terrorist checked.

Having lived here more than 23 years and gone through two intifadas (at least), I've learned enough to know that when you think that someone has a bomb on them, you neutralize them fast and if you've got medics treating wounded nearby, you don't have the option of pulling everyone back fast enough to be safe so yeah, you shoot the terrorist dead before he can reach his bomb and yeah, you might shoot him in the head because if you shoot him through his clothes, you might set off the bomb.

All we can conclude is that the soldier didn't know the terrorist had supposedly been cleared and therefore acted correctly with the information he had on hand - what was shouted to him by the eyewitnesses that agree he did the right thing...this 19 year old boy we've turned into a soldier.

I have one son who is 20 and in a combat unit...and there but for the grace of God, it could have been my son. If that soldier knowingly shot an unarmed terrorist, than this woman is correct. In our society, we would not consider him a hero. But in our society, we value justice and justice is not decided by a journalist who has never served, who is sitting hours away doling our judgment on our soldiers. Not just judgment - sentenced. He is to rot in jail.

He's guilty until proven innocent? The only person hurting Israel is this employee and the people she convinces with the influence and power given to her by the Times of Israel. Not the parents and children who want to believe in justice, who want to believe we send our sons and daughters to the army to serve and the army will protect them until they prove themselves not worthy of that protection.

Shame on Netanyahu and Ya'alon for passing judgment without the facts. And shame on this Times of Israel employee for being heartless and causing pain to a 19-year-old boy who is a hero and to his family and others, until proven otherwise. Until we know otherwise, and we still don't, he stepped forward to protect the people who were there.

It's very easy to talk about the days when your children will serve...when your kids aren't even 10 years old...but when you watch your son pick up a gun and a huge pack and swing it on his shoulder and you give him a kiss and watch him walk off...knowing you won't see him for a week, terrified they'll call and say he's been hurt or God, please no, never...or worse...then, ONLY then, will you understand what you've done, who you have maligned, and who you have hurt.

He's 19 years old. In America, he'd be screwing around, driving too fast, drinking too much, cutting classes and figuring out what he's going to do this summer. Here, these 19-year-olds ARE heroes because we give them guns and we train them...oh my God, do we train them.

They carry it a certain way, knowing they are targets every minute between base and home. And then they walk in the house...but they still have the gun and the obligations and the rules. So you get a quick kiss and he goes upstairs to his room, where he dismantles it and locks the pieces away. Only then does he come down to start eating everything you've made, to tell you of his week.

Then he wants to go out with his friends and he's going to Jerusalem so you watch as he slips a magazine in his belt or his pocket and puts the strap around his neck. He's 20 years old and he's guarding our borders and you have the nerve to hang him out to try because YOU KNOW...you think...you've decided? You don't know anything. You weren't there.

You've got B'Tselem, may they rot in jail, and a soundless image, saying he did the wrong thing from 50 meters and a shaking hand, and you've got eyewitnesses right there who saw the whole thing saying he did the right thing. You won't apologize? So I will.

Dear Israeli soldier, dear dear boy...on your way so fast, too fast, to being a man, on behalf of this woman, I apologize for her lack of faith and all those who have no faith in you, for those who think you could be compared, even for a moment, with the terrorist you neutralized to save others. You did nothing you weren't trained to do. MAYBE...you weren't given the right information - IF that is the case, this TERRORIST'S death is on your commanding officers, not on you.

You are a son of Israel. You have grown in this land and have dedicated these next years to serve Israel. Don't listen to the voices who condemn you. Listen to the love of a nation. You are our son and we do not abandon our children. We do not hang them out to dry on the ropes of international opinion and we don't hang them out to dry to chalk up visitors to our websites. You are a son of Israel and Israel thanks you.

You will not rot in jail. May God bless you and your family and all who serve.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When it isn't a Terrorist Who Stabs Our Soldiers in the Back

Tuvia Weissman (z"l) heard that there was a terror attack happening where he was shopping with his family. Without hesitating, unarmed, Tuvia ran into battle and because he was unarmed, he was killed.
Last week, my 20 year old son came home for a week's vacation, similar to the vacation Tuvia was on when he died. This time, because of what happened with Tuvia, the army sent my son and his unit home with their weapons. Over the course of the week, my son took his rifle with him when he left the house.
He went back to the army, as motivated to conquer new challenges as he has been for all of the four months since he was drafted. He is stronger now than he was, thinner and though I know it isn't possible, he even seems taller. He can run faster and farther; jump and scale wall. He's midway through his training, meeting every challenge they throw at him. He's even turned out to be an excellent marksman and so was given a special rifle, one of only two in his unit.
I speak to him as often as I can during the week but days can go by when he isn't given time to call home. He is a combat soldier - a fraction of the entire army and yet, at the very core of the army's reason for existing. His job, this beautiful son of mine, is to defend, to step forward as others fall back.
We walk together in the street. Last week, I was so sick I didn't have the strength to even get myself home. I have raised amazing, giving children. Four out of five have volunteered for the local Magen David Adom, two still do. One took the advanced training course and is now an ambulance driver. He has to leave for a shift, so my soldier son took the bus to my office so that he could take me home.
He walks differently now than he did a few months ago. Besides the weapon strapped to his side and the hand near the trigger, his eyes are always moving. He stands with his back to the wall on the train, looking, noting, checking. I want to distract him, I want him to look at me and stop acting like the soldier he has become.
This was last week.
He called the other night and told me of what the soldiers are feeling and I am so filled with anger I can barely breathe. What the Chief of Staff and Defense Minister have done to the soldier accused...no, no longer of murder...but of some crime as yet undefined, perhaps...is unforgivable. I hope that Chief of Staff Eizenkot knows his days are numbered. You can't lead an army that will not follow, that does not trust you. He has betrayed the soldiers and they can no longer believe in him.
Yes, I believe the soldier will be exonerated. I believe the Military Courts actions and the way words were presented are very telling. There is no unequivocal evidence of guilt, of intention. There are two facets of justice that are held dear in a democratic society. The first is that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. The second is that they must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many very reasonable doubts in this case. The MADA investigation, the body language expert, the soldier's rendition, the medics calling out warning of danger. There are no hard truths and I wouldn't be surprised if even the soldier can't fully confirm anything other than a reasonable reaction presented in the heat of battle.
This was not a cold-blooded execution. The commander said he checked the terrorist and yet, the medics who were there say he did not. By every army definition that I have ever seen, that terrorist was not neutralized...but I don't want to get into this whole argument again. I've already written about this several times, including:
What I do want to say is that the 5% who called the soldier a murderer, and, for all intents and purposes the Defense Minister and Chief of Staff and the Prime Minister have set in place a terrible new reality, one in which our soldiers have lost faith in the army leadership. The one thing my son knew last week, was that the army was his family and they would be with him in all that he does. They may want to send him in to Gaza to fight, but they won't send him in alone. They may order him to do something, but his commander will be leading the way and the army will have his back.
What the 5% have done that the 95% now have to work hard to undo, is damage the morale, the backbone of trust. Our sons gave everything and now, they have been stabbed in the back in ways more painful than any terrorist's knife.
When you undermine soldiers with rules not followed by any other country, this is what you get. Once this skit was comedy, today, it might well be reality. A reality caused by those who don't have the decency to have faith and trust in the sons and daughters they expect to be there when we are attacked. While they run for shelter, they expect these boys to try to shoot down the missiles; When a terrorist raises a knife and they go running for shelter, they expect the soldier to step forward, in the path of the terrorist, and protect them.
Won't they be surprised when the soldier asks why they should bother when in the end, these 5% may well turn around and call them vile, murderers, and worse.
Once this was comedy...today, this may well be the reality of what we are doing to our sons:
(translation below)


When you undermine the army, this is what you are left with. Once this was a comedy...today it is becoming a reality

Hebrew....(Rough translation follows)

The commander tests the soldier before he goes out to the field "So, you go out and then suddenly, you see a terrorist with a knife coming at you from 100 meters away...what do you do?"

"Shoot him," replies the soldier.

"Shoot him?" says the commander. "Just like that? Without a reason?"

"But he's coming at me with a knife."

"What if he just wants to make a salad?"

"In the middle of the road?" asks the soldier.

"Soldier, we are not barbarians. First you have to check his intentions."

"How do I check?"

"You wait. If you see that he isn't coming to butcher you. You don't get involved in the day-to-day issues around you.

"Understood," says the soldier.

"Ok, so he continue to run towards you, staring at you. What do you do?"

"Shoot him," answers the soldier.

"Shoot him? Shoot him? Is that why you have a weapon? To go in the street and shoot people?"

"No," answers the soldier, "I just thought..."

"You don't shoot. You don't anything. You take this" says the commanding officer as he picks up a tape measure, "and measure how far away he is.
"
"For what, Commander?"

"Because beyond a fixed distance, it isn't considered endangering your life and you can't shoot him."

"But how can I measure the distance," asks the soldier, "if he is running towards me and is constantly getting closer?"

"You ask him to stop," says the commander, " but ask NICELY. They are very, very, sensitive."

"OK"

"So, you measure, and you discover that the distance is below the minimum and he's continuing to run in your direction and he yells 'Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. What do you do?"

"Shoot him," answers the soldier.

"Tell me, do you have psychological problems or something?"

"No."

"And in your house, do you shoot everyone who yells Allahu Akbar who has a knife in their hand?"

"No," says the soldier hesitantly.

"You don't shoot him. You take the weapon in your hand, pointing upwards and say, 'dear terrorist, stop or I"m going to have to shoot you."

"Understood."

"What did you understand? And if he doesn't stop? If he continues to run towards you?"

"Ah..."

"Ah...what?"

"So I shoot him"

"You don't shoot HIM, you shoot in the air!"

"In the air?"

"In the air...but it doesn't help. He continues to run in your direction. He grabs you. He raises the knife...what do you do?" yells the commander.

"I warn him," says the soldier.

"NO!" says the commander.

"I ask him very very nicely to leave me alone."

"NO!" yells the commander.

"I sing him a song by Umm Kulthum [a famous Arabic singer]"

"NO!" yells the commander even louder.

"So what should I do?"

"Shoot him, idiot! Why do you have a gun?"

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Don't Mess With Our Soldier

I can barely work with all the emails and Facebook messages I am receiving. Israel has spoken loud and clear. What is amazing is that the media and the government aren't hearing it, not even the army.
We, who you represent, we who you defend, we who gave you the power to be where you are, we who believe in peace, do not believe justice is served by abandoning and trying a 19-year-old boy for doing what he was trained to do.
You took him at a critical time in his life. He was a boy at the edge of becoming a man; he was a man, not yet parted from the boy. He is a son who remains connected to his family in a way that is different than it will be, different than it was. You took him and made him stronger, faster, probably thinner than he was before he entered the army.
You changed him. His body that can now do things it could not do before; his mind that is now filled with so much more than it knew before. You gave him a weapon and warned him that there will be those who attempt to take it from him. You tested him; tried to steal the weapon from him in the middle of the night as he slept so that even in sleep, he is one with the gun.
You taught him that the gun can save...and the gun can harm. When he goes home, he thinks about where to put the gun, even the pieces of the gun. He races time to learn to put it together faster, to get the magazine in faster, to be able to raise it and be prepared to fire it - faster. You taught him to watch, to be aware and now wherever he goes, he stands differently, always on alert, always watching. Always knowing he has to be faster than his enemy or people could die. His people. His friends. His brothers.
He was taught the signs to look for, the things to be worried about. Some of them are obvious, even to those of us who were never in the army. He was put in a place, perhaps among the most dangerous in all of Israel for a soldier. Daily soldiers are attacked there. Rammed at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, stoned as they go on patrol. Arabs throw paint and boulders, taunt them, scream at them, spit at them. He is surrounded by hatred, a hatred that massacred Jewish men, women and children long before our state was founded. A hate so deep, it didn't think twice about focusing on the head of a beautiful 10 month old baby, and pulling the trigger. This is where you put him, our soldier, our 19-year-old boy who now becomes a man.
And as our enemies from the outside are there, so too are our enemies from within, the likes of Peace Now and B'tselem that live to "catch" them do anything, and they too taunt the soldiers and push them and pick at them and accuse them.
There are some irrefutable facts and then there is conjecture.
Fact: we know the 19-year-old soldier shot a terrorist who had attacked a soldier and had been shot.
Fact: we know that the medics and eyewitnesses on the scene called out, warning that the terrorist might be dangerous, might have a bomb, and was moving.
Conjecture: pretty much everything else. Pieces of "evidence" leaked by the military to the media more designed to justify the army's abandonment of the soldier than to shed any new light on what really happened.
There are serious questions as to how the unit's commanding officer handled the scene. The commander says he checked the terrorist for a bomb and that the terrorist was neutralized. Yet how did he check the terrorist if the terrorist's jacket was still buttoned closed? Is the commanding officer trained to check for a bomb and disarm it? If not, he's an idiot because merely in checking, he could have set a bomb off.
If the terrorist was neutralized, why wasn't an army medic treating him? Army regulations, and those of Magen David Adom as well, require that injured people be treated in the order of severity and yet the terrorist is left there while medics see to another soldier who was, from reports I have seen, only lightly wounded.
And then we have the war of words that is happening all around. I can't remember the last time an investigation was handled so poorly. What happened to the concept that the IDF does not discuss an ongoing investigation?
Who the hell is Moshe Yaalon to announce now that the soldier is guilty? His is a political position not a judicial one and he wasn't there. Has he sat with the soldier personally? Did he go to the scene? Speak with the commanding officer? With the medics involved?
Who IS at fault...if there is fault to be had?
Years ago, when my oldest son was in the army, he told me about one of his commanding officers. K. was an amazing leader. He should have been much higher in rank by the time my son was assigned to his unit. K. was the commander in charge, when my son was in the war in Gaza. K. had fought in Lebanon too.
Somewhere between Lebanon and Gaza, something terrible happened. A nagmash (APC) turned over during an exercise, and the commander in the vehicle was killed. K. was that commander's commanding officer's commanding officer. He was not present during the exercise and yet, K. stepped forward and took responsibility. It happened under his command, under his watch, he answered, and so he was responsible. He was reluctantly moved down a rank, and then began working his way back up through the ranks. He was, by far, the most exceptional commanding officer my son ever had.
What is happening here is against everything that the army is. The Defense Minister is blaming the soldier. The Chief of Staff is blaming the soldier. The Prime Minister. The media...but amazingly enough, not the people.
But we, the people, remain untouched by greed, by politics, by fear. We don't bow to the world, not even to the Americans or the UN. If there is fault to be had, it is the soldier's commanding officer who should step forward to protect his unit and his soldier. Why is he not taking responsibility? Where is his commanding officer's commanding officer to say "it happened under my watch, I am responsible"?
If my son was in that unit, I would do everything in my power to have him transferred out. I don't want my son anywhere near a commander who would throw his soldier to the ground to save himself.
The terrorist was not checked properly. Had he been checked and neutralized, his jacket would have been off - if not, at very least opened.
Medics and soldiers were not informed that the commander had supposedly checked the terrorist. If they had been, they would not have called out that the terrorist moved and might be dangerous.
Israel does not abandon its soldiers. This soldier has done his job. The fault in this incident, if there is ANY fault to be had for his neutralizing a terrorist, rests with the commander for failing to secure the site, failing to neutralize the terrorist, failing to communicate. Let the commander be the leader. Let him stand with his soldier, or be removed from command. Soldiers cannot serve under a commander that cannot be trusted. No man can walk into battle not trusting the man who leads them.
That goes with the army. That does with the nation. That goes for Netanyahu, Yaalon, and Eizenkot. This is our soldier and no matter what you read in the media, he is our hero. Israel is speaking very loudly. Over 80% of the people believe in this soldier. You may not be a fool to attack a 19-year-old boy and abandon him, but you are a fool to go against the people of Israel.
Support our soldier! Release him! The only murderers...or attempted murderers at that scene have now both been neutralized. Treat them as the terrorists they were. Destroy their homes and tell their families that they won't get an apology from us, they'll get nothing from us except our utter and complete contempt.
Don't mess with our soldier. Don't mess with the people of Israel.

Who are my heroes?

Well, I can tell you easily who they are not. 

The politicians who worry about votes are not heroes to me. A Chief of Staff who abandons a soldier in trouble is not a hero to me. A Defense Minister who says a 19 year old boy has "gone bad", and journalists who use the power of words and popularity to hurt a boy, a family, a section of the population - all these are no heroes. News websites that focus on hits and traffic at the expense of Israel are not heroes to me. 

So, who are the heroes?

Look outside your window — they’re all right there. The bus driver is a hero…quietly day after day, he fights traffic and delays to get thousands of people to work, hopefully with a “good morning,” a “have a good day,” or even a “see you later” as you walk off the bus.

The policemen…and women…who represent safe haven. Who answer questions and stand on corners with eyes ever-shifting, watching, alert. They are the heroes of Israel.

The guards at every entrance, at every mall, on the trains, near the buses. Without hesitation, time and time again, they have rushed into danger to save lives. We’ve been fighting for six months against this latest intifada; we’ve been fighting for generations. How many times have we killed needlessly? Really, considering how many enemies we have, the answer is very few. We don’t aim to hurt innocents, but when 11-year-old boys are sent with knives to stab people, when women in their 50s suddenly attempt to stab a guard, the lines get blurred.

And the child who gets up and offers you a seat on the train and when you say you’re fine, refuses to sit down again and so you both stand until the next stop.
And the teachers…oh, the teachers…who have more patience than I am left with after years and years of mothering and now grandmothering. She saw that my youngest daughter, beauty and grace at 16, didn’t have a costume…I’ve been sick…months and months of viruses and pneumonia and coughs and fevers…and she didn’t ask about a costume and I didn’t think…and the teacher asked if she could bring a crown for my princess…teachers, they are my heroes.

The storekeeper who smiles when you walk in and tells you the bread is from yesterday, he hasn’t had a chance to unload yet, and even offers to call you when he’s ready. He is a hero doing everyday things to make life nicer.

The bank teller who says she saw my son and didn’t he look good in his uniform. Strong. Tell him we’re proud of him, she says before she takes my deposit. I did tell him, but still, you are my hero because life isn’t about business.

So the best we can do is struggle to maintain, to live life normally and so the guards are heroes, but so are the people who get up each day and get on a bus, even though the same bus line was stoned last night; and the people who drive the highway where last night they were throwing firebombs. And the people of Alon Shvut who took to the running path a week after a jogger was attacked…and the runner himself joined them. These are heroes of Israel.

And the people of Maale Adumim, where I live, who raised over 40,000 NIS in less than a week to help the family of a security guard who was brutally beaten by an Arab worker with whom he had sat to drink coffee mere days before. They are heroes who pray for Tzvika Cohen (Achiya Tzvi ben Batya) and greeted each other on the streets of our city with smiles, “did you hear, he woke up?” and “Tzvika is doing better, Baruch Hashem.”

And the people of Raanana, Eli, Tel Aviv, Kiryat Arba, Jerusalem, Itamar, Afula, Beit Shemesh, Kiryat Gat, Beit El, Rishon leZion, Otniel, Petach Tikvah…and so many other places who have been hit hard during this intifada and yet still find hope, still believe. We cry, we mourn, we bury and then we live because that’s what Israelis do and so we are all heroes.

The mother who sits every minute of her life for three years and then weeks and weeks at a time for years later, worrying, wondering, fearing, praying. You are my hero, even though once again, I’m one of you. We watch everything and wonder what it will mean. Tunnel collapses are a good thing. If the tunnels collapse, maybe we won’t have to go to war this summer to destroy them again. A ramming attack on a Friday morning…oh God…where is he now…he’s on his way home…God, please, please…where is he…and then even when he calls and tells you the bus just pulled into Jerusalem and you know it wasn’t him, still your eyes fill with tears because it wasn’t him…but it was the son of someone else and so still yours.

And the soldier…oh, God, every one of them. They get up at 4:30 in the morning because their commanding officer tells them they have to. They eat in minutes, run and hike and shoot and climb until it’s time to go to sleep again. Six hours later, they’re up again, eating, running, climbing, shooting. They are my heroes, my sons.

And they are still and always my heroes, my sons, even on the bad days, maybe even when they made a mistake. I don’t know if the soldier made a mistake. What I do know is that a mother’s love doesn’t stop, and a soldier of Israel doesn’t get abandoned, especially before all the evidence is in.

The soldier had cause to shoot. The terrorist had already stabbed a soldier. He was wearing a leather jacket buttoned up on a day that had soared into the 80s (mid to high 20s C). He moved and someone called out a warning that he might have a bomb and he moved. That afterwards he said the terrorist deserved to die is not problematic at all. Though some may ridicule the concept, mankind has survived thousands of years by understanding that evil people will rise up to murder you and you need to kill them first. If he said the terrorist deserved to die before, do we know what he meant by that?

Ignorant people often mistranslate the command as “Thou shall not kill” — nope, that’s wrong. We are allowed to kill. In fact, we are commanded, in certain circumstances, to kill and the most obvious one is when someone is trying to kill you, you are commanded to try to kill them first. The commandment is, “Thou shall not murder.” We know that the soldier killed the terrorist; we do not know whether he murdered him.

How many of us have seen a friend bloodied and stabbed by a terrorist while we stand with a gun in our hand and the terrorist is right there? There is anger, intense anger, at that moment…did he act in anger? The medics did not know if the soldier was angry. They did know that the terrorist could have a bomb and was moving. We know that the soldier acted AFTER the medics’ warning. Who are we, who sit miles away and weren’t there and haven’t spoken to the people who WERE there…who are we to judge?

What was in the soldier’s head, why he shot — if it was revenge or concern for the safety of others — we don’t know. I’m not even sure if the army knows, but I guarantee you journalists don’t.

So, the soldier is a hero today, just as he was a hero a week ago and a month ago. Not because he shot a Palestinian terrorist, but because months and months ago, when they asked him if he would be willing to serve in a combat unit, he agreed. He’s had a gun for many months. If his goal was to murder Palestinians, he’s had ample opportunity. He could have massacred hundreds of them.

This morning, after being abandoned by the Prime Minister of Israel and the Chief of Staff, after being told that in the event something happens, they will not stand with you, our sons got up at 4:30 this morning, took their guns and went on patrol. Deep in their hearts, there is pain and there is the thought that they made a mistake. They didn’t have to agree to go into combat. They didn’t have to step forward and agree to learn how to run dozens of kilometers in a few hours’ time. They didn’t have to commit to being able to do push-ups and scale walls and be dirty and hungry and tired.

They did it because they believed that Israel would stand with them. Last night, my son told me that Reservists are wondering why they should bother showing up; that those coming in to the army today may hesitate. And I told him that even if the journalists and the government aren’t with them, the people are. A mother doesn’t abandon her son; she doesn’t stop loving him.

More than 50,000 people have already signed a petition supporting the soldies, not because he shot a Palestinian terrorist, but because he is our soldier and we will stand with him.

A man named Alex made a video and got more than 112,000 likes. “The story says that a soldier of ours murdered the terrorist. Now I have a question for you. WHO put it in your head that the terrorist was neutralized? Do you KNOW what the meaning is of the word ‘neutralized’? Neutralized means he’s already dead, or he has handcuffs on him and they’ve undressed him, checked him, and have security forces watching him. In this case, he was alone. No one was supervising him. He was fully dressed and he started to move. And so our soldier, like any normal soldier, when he saw this, he shot him in the head so that he wasn’t taking any chance. He was ensuring the safety of himself and his friends. So, Kol Hakavod [all honor] to this soldier.”

And then Alex addressed the soldier directly in the message that all of Israel is sending…well, the vast majority of Israel, less the journalists, the Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff, “And I say to the soldier, we’re standing behind you. We won’t let anyone destroy you. We love you and thank you for your service.”

That’s right. We love you. We thank you, soldiers of Israel, for your service. You are our heroes. Every. Single. One. Of. You.

Monday, March 28, 2016

When the Times of Israel Tries to MAKE News

If you are beginning to think a witch hunt or a lynch is underway, you might well be right. Stuart Winer is the "breaking news" editor at Times of Israel. Today, he published a story that was neither breaking, nor news. It wasn't breaking because it was published at least 18 hours earlier by Haaretz, an ultra-left wing news site with what one can only hope is a waning audience. It was published 17 hours earlier by i24 News, as well.

It wasn't actually news either, except in the minds of those who are likely worried that most of Israel doesn't agree with them. And so, Haaretz, i24 News, and the Times of Israel seem to have joined hands to cross the line between reporting the news to making it up. What's the story that was neither breaking nor news?

Okay, brace yourself. The soldier who shot a terrorist, shook someone's hand.

Yeah, that's it. See, someone at the scene turned around and put out his hand and the soldier shook it. So, wow, call up the New York Times, they missed the story!

Oh wait, I forgot the important part. Well, no I didn't because there is no important part, but I forgot the point of why Haaretz and the Times of Israel's Stuart Winer are telling you this "breaking news.

You might want to sit down for this one...the person...the man...the....wow...I can do this...the SETTLER...the right-wing...no, not good enough...the "far right extremist", and an "ultra-nationalist" (what does that even mean?) none other than Baruch Marzel was the man who shook hands with the soldier.

So obviously, the soldier is guilty of murder, tax fraud, not picking up after his dog, speeding, and jay walking. How do we know? What is wrong with you people...the soldier shook hands. Are you listening, he SHOOK hands with Baruch Marzel!

What is wrong here is what plagues media all over the world. The fact is, journalism is a dying industry. People are barely buying newspapers - why should they when you can get the news for free? People get their news a hundred different ways and no one can tell you what is happening in a place faster than the person on the street who is there when it happened. So, if a bomb explodes in Brussels, Twitter will report it way faster than anyone else. We don't NEED the media to tell us what is happening.

So what do we need them for? That is the question with which many journalists are struggling. Since Winer may as well be fired because it is highly unlikely he'll ever really be able to break a story before hundreds of people already know about it, he and others like him are searching for what role they can play...and if they aren't, they should be.

Primarily what a journalist should be able to offer you is a deeper understanding of the overall situation. The person on the street will tell you about the explosion. The reporter should be able to explain the background of the suspected terrorists, the significance of the place they chose to strike etc. In other words, breaking news is nonsense - as you can see from Winer's pathetic attempt at least 18 hours after the fact.

What Winer could have done was focused on the significance of Hevron in the latest intifada...how almost daily, soldiers come under fire. They have been rammed at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, shot at, stone. Winer could have given a deeper understanding of the relationships between the army, the local Arab population, and the local Jewish population...oh, sorry - the settlers.

What Winer did, instead, was pump out a meaningless story filled with innuendos based on a handshake between a local resident and a soldier. The fact is, the local population, Jewish, that is, is one of the most welcoming in Israel. They regularly give soldiers food and drinks and shower them with gratitude. Marzel shook hands with the soldier, because that's what he does. He shakes hands with people, especially soldiers because he considers Hebron his home and so when he sees people...soldiers...in his home, he feels it is his job to welcome them personally.

Where is the story here? What is Winer trying to accomplish by pointing out that the soldier shook Marzel's hand (or actually, from the looks of the video, Marzel reached out first and the soldier responded)?

And that is where this story turns vicious. That is where Haaretz, i24, Times of Israel and Stuart Winer broke faith with true journalism and swallowed the story that an organization...oh wait, let me pretend to be Winer...a left-wing, fanatical and highly disreputable organization known as B'tselem fed to them.

The story here isn't a story. It's an attempt to manipulate, to influence the minds of readers, not to inform. No one in their right mind should think ill of a soldier because while waiting for the army to clean up the area of the terrorist attack someone walked over to him and shook his hand. But these news sites are counting on their influence, to make you swallow their slant.

Don't.

Don't allow journalists to replace their no-longer-relevant job of reporting the news with the job of thinking for you.




Offensive and Inaccurate Headlines Do Not Serve the Interests of Journalism

Israel has been bombarded with disgusting, intentionally misleading and confusing headlines for years. In recent months, the number of headlines that tell you "Two Palestinians Die in Stabbing Attack" and "Israeli Soldiers Shoot Palestinian Dead in Ramming Attack" make us all sick. Some amazing organizations and people have been working hard to call these media sites out. Honest Reporting, CAMERA and many others.

For the most part, Israeli news outlets have worked hard to bring the news to people all over the world. Slowly, the Israeli media is becoming more marginalized. The center seems almost non-existent. You have the left, you have the right, and you have very little honest reporting. The quest to be the first, to sensationalize, to grab the hits and drive the traffic is becoming alarmingly inhumane.

Case and point - the IDF soldier in Hevron. He's either a hero or a criminal; a savior or a murderer. Yesterday I wrote about one journalist who immediately said he should "rot in jail." Even with the emergence of a second video, she refused to move away from her position that the soldier had committed murder.

By nightfall, relief for many turned to concern, when media outlets started writing that the soldier had first told a friend and then his commanding officer that the terrorist, "deserved to die." Fact is, the people of Israel agree. We're tired of burying parents and looking at the devastated orphans they leave behind. We are tired of looking into those eyes that have suddenly grown old and admit that we failed to protect them.

We are angry and fed up with crying at grave sites, listening to more reports of battered and butchered bodies and walking with one eye on our backs and yes, a whole lot of us feel, if you take a knife or an ax into your hand and plan to place it into the body of an Israeli, you have requested that we shoot you dead.

That Palestinians survive many of these attacks means that we now extend to them the wonders of Israel. Our doctors struggle to save their miserable lives and then they are tried in our fair and democratic court system and then placed in jails. Jails with televisions, and meeting rooms and exercise and an all-expense paid trip through college for many. And then, they go back out on the street to do it all again.

So we're used to this ridiculous cycle of stupidity and we're sadly used to asinine headlines that blur, intentionally, the real meaning of what happened...or what was said.

Today's absurdity comes from the Times of Israel, firmly on the left, firmly anti-religious. As a right-wing blogger there, one of very few who remain, I am constantly abused, insulted, attacked, and slighted. If you kiss up to the editors, even if you're right wing, they'll feature you and like you and excuse your "extremism" but if you don't...they'll bury your posts and struggle within themselves to decide whether to cut you off or not. How can they be the "marketplace of ideas" if they cut off ideas, right? But they are so tempted...looking for a reason.

Yesterday's reason to delay my post for over 6 hours was because they didn't like that I used the world "journalist" to describe a woman who writes for various places, posts news updates and runs their WhatsApp news group.

And, on the heels of that comes today's post, ridiculously headlined, "Chief rabbi: Non-Jews shouldn't be allowed to live in Israel" posted by the same Times of Israeli employee who wrote that the soldier should "rot in jail" - with the note, "I think this guy and the imam who said that Jews were apes and pigs should double-date."

This "guy" is the Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and that's not what he said. What he said was that those who cannot uphold the simplest form of humane laws (as are detailed in the Noahide laws) should be expelled. What are the Noahide laws? Very simple:
  1. Do not murder.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not worship false gods.
  4. Do not be sexually immoral.
  5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
  6. Do not curse God.
  7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
One left-wing commentator decided to suggest the rabbi was coming out against homosexuality and atheists. Read the laws...

Don't murder...we are in a six month wave of murder...yes, please send the murderers OUT of Israel.

Don't steal...has that suddenly become acceptable according to the Times of Israel?

Do not worship false gods...well, that can be opened to interpretation. If you believe your god is false, don't worship it...but then again, if you did believe it, why would you worship it?

Do not be sexually immoral. Okay, so maybe this left-wing guy (who happens to wear a kippah...go figure that one out)...thinks homosexuality is immoral? Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. The Noahide laws don't say homosexuality. They don't say explicitly what is sexual immorality. Figure it out yourself, and don't do it - that's the Noahide law. Do you think incest is acceptable? Personally, I think marrying a 40 year old man to a 6 year old girl is sexual immorality but there apparently are millions of people in the world who don't think that.

Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal....you have a problem with this one?

Do not curse God? ...Does it say you have to believe in God? No...it says DO NOT CURSE God...so how did this idiot decide Rabbi Yosef was saying atheists should be shipped off to Saudi Arabia? Maybe he should work for the Times of Israel...

Set up courts and bring offenders to justice....and again, do you have a problem with this? It doesn't talk about jury system to judges. It simply says - set up courts so that man does not judge his fellow man...bring offenders to justice...so that man does not inflict his opinion of justice on others. He even mentioned that even in the case of a terrorist, once neutralized, he should be brought to justice (and before anyone mentions Hebron, the question of whether the terrorist was neutralized and whether the soldier had been TOLD that that terrorist was neutralized is still open to debate).

Bottom line, the heading is off and the Times of Israel should have the decency to change it. Then again, the journalist/blogger should have had the decency to take back her offensive comment that a soldier of Israel should "rot in jail" when all the facts are not known and no trial has taken place, and, at the point she said it, most of the evidence was not in.

Being a soldier is a tremendous responsibility. To put that in the hands of a 19 year old is an incredible and difficult thing. Being a journalist is also a tremendous responsibility. You have the power to hurt many people...and this is what was done. 

One young soldier and his family were hurt by the insensitive and inaccurate reporting of outlets like the Times of Israel. More, thousands of mothers of soldiers and thousands of young soldiers today are wondering why they should step forward and endanger their futures while people who never served pass judgment on every move they make.

I doubt the Times of Israel has the potential to hurt the feelings of Rabbi Yosef. What they do have, is the power to hurt themselves. If this is the style of writing that they believe in, few can take them seriously. Offensive and inaccurate headlines do not serve the interests of journalism and today is a sad day for the Times of Israel.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

To Rot in Jail or to Rot in the Ground

Do you want to know why is reasonable that the soldier might have shot the terrorist...read this. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe it was justified, maybe it wasn't...but read this. THIS is what our sons have to endure...and if they make the wrong decision in the seconds they have to make a decision, they can pay for it with their lives. This was posted in Hebrew to Dror Zicherman's Facebook page. (With great thanks to Rahel Jaskow for the fast and amazing translation.)


Dror Zicherman’s Facebook Post


All right. I have to get something off my chest that’s been there for two days already — roughly since I heard about the soldier who made sure that a terrorist who had tried to murder him was dead.

Before I do that, I want to state that I have told very few people some of what I’m about to write in this post, and that my feeling that I must write it now is flooding me from inside. Still, I’m going to share it.

On December 29, 2005, I was on a routine patrol team that was part of the ongoing operations that my battalion was carrying out in the Tulkarm sector, where I was serving.

During the patrol, I received a warning that terrorists were planning to commit a terror attack at a Hanukkah show, so Ori Binamo, of blessed memory, decided to set up a surprise checkpoint at the southern exit from the city of Tulkarm.

We received an explicit order to inspect every vehicle coming from Tulkarm that was heading toward Israel. The main thing we were looking for was the birth year of the suicide bomber: 1976. We did as ordered, checking every vehicle carefully. Fifty minutes after the checkpoint had been set up, a Palestinian taxi arrived. It was carrying eight passengers.

I took their ID cards from them, and on inspecting them I found that one of them bore the birth year 1976. Immediately we ordered the passengers in the taxi to get out so that we could inspect them.

We inspected the first three passengers. When we saw that they were not carrying any weapons, we told them to stand aside. The fourth passenger was wearing a leather coat. Even though it was December, the weather that day was warmer than usual.

That passenger was a suicide terrorist on his way to carry out an attack at one of the Hanukkah shows. (The terrorist and the other passengers had permits to work in Israel. That is less relevant to the post, but it’s important to note.)

In any case, Ori wanted to check the passenger, but his leather coat made me extremely suspicious. During the inspection I aimed my weapon at the terrorist’s head. When Ori saw that I had aimed my weapon, we had a conversation that I’ll never forget.

Ori: Zicherman, you’re not shooting.

I: But he’s wearing a leather coat.

Ori: You’re not shooting. Period.

Of course, I listened to Ori and followed the rules, which stated that we could shoot only if there was positive identification.

A few seconds later, Ori turned toward the terrorist and began speaking to him in Hebrew.

Ori: Open your coat and show me your shirt.

The terrorist looked at him wide-eyed, as though he didn’t understand Hebrew. Ori then started shouting at him in Arabic, signaling me not to shoot, as I stood holding my weapon with a bullet in the chamber, aimed directly at the terrorist’s face. But I obeyed Ori and did not move.

Ori [in Arabic]: Ifra’ al bluza (Lift up your shirt).

The terrorist looked at me, looked back at Ori and made a movement as if he were about to lift up his shirt. But instead, he activated the detonator of the bomb he was carrying — an explosive that weighed almost 30 kilograms — and blew himself up at me and at Ori.

Ori was killed in the incident, and I was severely wounded. The whole incident comes back to me every evening, years after it happened. I obeyed orders. I did not fire at the terrorist because there was no positive identification.

I wanted very much to shoot him, but Ori, who was careful to obey orders, would not allow me to do it. Both of us paid dearly for it, he with his life and I with my health, all because I obeyed the rules of engagement and did not open fire on the terrorist even though I wanted very much to do so. That’s how I am; I’m not a rule-breaker.

Why am I sharing this? Because I’m fed up. I’m very frustrated with what’s been happening in our country over the past few months. Israeli army troops have been dealing for months with the dilemma of whether to neutralize terrorists or make sure that they are dead, and each time the same commentators on the various television channels debate about the kind of society we have become.

As I see it, the incident that took place on Saturday is the worst it’s ever been. A soldier shoots a terrorist and makes sure that he is dead, and all the media outlets post “atrocity photos” of the “execution,” as if the soldier had executed some innocent passerby who had done nothing.

One television commentator says that the soldier is a fan of The Shadow [the nickname of rap artist Yoav Eliasi, who made controversial statements following the terror attack on Bus 78 in Jerusalem in October] and of Ben-Zion Gopstein [head of Lehava, a controversial anti-assimilation organization] because he “liked” their Facebook page. Another commentator adds that the soldier had obeyed the chief rabbi, who said that it was forbidden to listen to the chief of staff or anyone of that sort (I don’t know whether the quote is exact).

Everyone vied with one another as to who was more shocked by the incident, and tried to look for excuses everywhere.

And the military establishment? It has distanced itself from him [the soldier]. People everywhere are trying to be good, saying that these are not the army’s procedures, that the Israeli army does not carry out executions.

That’s true. The army does not carry out executions. A soldier of the Israeli army made sure that a terrorist was dead.

That terrorist was also wearing a leather coat on a hot day.

That terrorist also moved his hand as if he were about to detonate a bomb.

The soldier did not kill an innocent civilian. He killed a person with the means and the intent to murder soldiers or random Israelis.
The procedures that they speak of in the Israeli army are a joke — a very bad joke.

Keep telling me about how our army is humane. But before you talk about the rules of engagement, remember that it’s because of those rules that Ori is gone and I’m severely wounded and suffering from PTSD.

Who knows? Maybe it would have been better to be considered a murderer (by the media and Amnon Abramovitch [A Soldier's Motherand I'll add here David Horwitz and other journalists at The Times of Israel]) than to be suffering from PTSD.

But in my opinion, that soldier is a hero, and I salute him. He killed a terrorist and prevented a future attack on innocent people.

----------------------------------

A Soldier's Mother continues:

In 2005, a terrorist wearing a leather jacket on a hot day...murdered an Israeli soldier who had ordered another soldier to hold his fire and follow the rules of engagement...a few days ago, a soldier didn't hold his fire...and this investigation is being turned into a three ring circus by media outlets that care more about ratings than they do about Israel...more about the damn number of hits they get...than the safety or future of a 19 year old boy....and all I can say is someday your child will be 19...and if you are still living here in Israel, he may serve in the army...and he will be given a weapon and taught how and when to use it...and if you are really lucky, he'll never be called on to raise it, point it...shoot it...and if he does...and there's even a tiny question...how will you feel when the first words out of someone's mouth is that he should "rot in jail."

Well, Ori isn't rotting in jail..he's rotting in the ground...because all these people who think they know better forced it into his head not to fire, to push back the suspicion until there is no doubt...no doubt...which is only proven after the explosion...after Ori died and Dror is scarred for life.

I have never been so sick in my life of the selfish, holier than thou attitude of people who know nothing but dare to judge and convict others. And shame on the army for allowing it. For the first time in my life, I'm thinking about pushing to get my son out of a combat unit. You don't deserve him, Zahal, if this is what you do.

Gadi Eizenkot Should Resign NOW


As the mother of a combat soldier, I say if you will not stand by your soldiers until it is PROVEN that he did something wrong, step down. I've been through two wars with a son on the front lines and one of the only things that got me through was my faith in the IDF Chief of Staff - both times...two different men.

I was once at a conference and heard Gabi Ashkenazi speak and then a little while later, he was walking past me and without even realizing it, I walked up to him and there were tears in my eyes and he stood there and listened in my Hebrew, when I should have spoken English, I told him that my son had been in the Gaza war and I didn't think I would survive the panic, the fear...and I listened to everything he said and I believed that he would bring my son home and I believed he would do what was right for Israel while doing all that he could to protect and stand by every soldier.

Ashkenazi listened till I finished and then he thanked me and told me that he was very touched by what I had to say. I told him I trusted him and he did what he was supposed to do, he brought my son home and I would never forget that.

The Chief of Staff is now Gadi Eizenkot. My older son is home, married and a father. Now it's my youngest son in a combat unit. And I don't want Eizenkot to continue serving. I need to know, mothers need to know, that you'll guard our sons. I don't trust you anymore, Chief of Staff Eizenkot.

Resign because you failed. Resign because you can't send a 19-year-old boy into battle and then hang him to dry if he made a mistake...IF he made a mistake. You want perfectly mature, perfect soldiers - draft all the 30-40 year old men and leave the boys home with their mothers until they can mature on their own like they do in other countries.

Maybe that BOY made a mistake and MAYBE he didn't. But you set him up so that these people who know NOTHING and have NOTHING to lose because it isn't THEIR son...can spout at things like saying this boy should rot in jail.

You, Gadi Eizenkot, abandoned your position. You betrayed your soldiers. Maybe you didn't train him right. Maybe you trained him right but you didn't set the right rules of engagement. Maybe it's too embarrassing to admit that the boy responded the way he WAS taught but from the outside it looks politically embarrassing.

Whatever the reason - you be the good commander and take responsibility. If there was a mess-up, it was under your command. Israel never throws the weakest soldier under the wheels of the tank...commanders step in and shoulder the responsibility.

When my son's unit was attacked - a bunch of soldiers opened fire and neutralized the terrorist before he could back up and injure more soldiers and when the bullets stopped flying, ONE man stepped forward and claimed responsibility. That Arab was returned with bullet holes in all directions...but the story went out - ONE commanding officer fired. These are the soldiers of Israel.

What you did - it's disgraceful and no, as mothers, we can't trust you with our sons. So go. Leave. We'll take care of this boy. We'll work to make sure he gets justice. That was your job and you failed. Now go.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Other Brothers

Today, Aliza had lunch with one of her other brothers. David was in the army; Shmulik was with his wife's family; Elie was home with his wife and daughter. We went with Aliza to have lunch with Chaim and his sister and her family.

Often when we go to someone's home for a meal, Aliza doesn't really have anyone her age and soon wants to "escape." Sometimes we let her; sometimes we don't. Today, she didn't even ask. We had a wonderful time, enjoying a meal with people who are more family than anything else. We adopted Yakov when Elie first met him and asked if he could bring a friend home. The friend was learning in Israel, while his family remained in the States.

We walked through the next few years with Yakov - into the army and out...our first exposure to what life was like as the family of a soldier. He came to us exhausted, falling asleep during the meal. We went to the army ceremonies and filmed him and cheered...and then he brought us Chaim.

Chaim is a few months older than Shmulik - and as we went through the army with our middle son, we shared in Chaim's army experience as well. And so both boys became ours...

A few years after Yakov had gone back to live in the States, get married and have his first two children there (he's now back home here in Israel!)...I asked Aliza if she remembered Yakov. She was only 7 when he went back to the States. Her answer was, "Of course I remember him, he's my brother."

It is a feeling we all have and are blessed because they feel it too.

So as I was talking to Aliza after Shabbat ended, she explained about how much she enjoyed today, how she likes being with Yakov and Chaim. "They listen to me," she said, "more than my other brothers." How amazing that when speaking of her "real" brothers, they were called "others" while Chaim (and Yakov) was simply her brother(s).

Her "other" brothers listen to her but they have known her all her life and so they sometimes still treat her like the child she once was. Yakov and Chaim treat her as she is. They grow with her and enjoy who she is today.

I think her "blood" brothers adore her but she'll always be their baby sister. And more than once, Yakov and Chaim have stepped in to "protect" her. So today, even though all her brothers weren't around, Aliza still got to have lunch with one of her brothers.

Five Years Since the Fogel Massacre

It's been five years...five years since five members of the Fogel family were massacred in their homes on a Friday night. Five years. May their memories be blessed.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Guest Blog - Open Your Eyes - by Hillel Fuld

This is a guest blog from a friend. Most of his life is dedicated to his family (he always puts them first) and to promoting, supporting, advising, and living the amazing world of Israeli innovation and hi-tech. He blogs, he tweets, he google pluses technology. He snapcasts and now he ZULAs about Israel.

Sometimes I long for him to say what I know is in his heart and in his head but he knows that people listen to him because they want to know about the latest brilliance...but every once in a while...he gives in to that inner voice and lets it loose. Not too much to change the image of him as a shaker, a mover, a man at the forefront of what Israel is developing, but enough to remind us that even in the real world of science, technology, amazing medical breakthroughs in research, devices that charm us and heal us and make life more efficient or even just more fun...there is another reality happening here in Israel.

This morning, Hillel "slipped" - and he's allowed me to share this message here.

Open Your Eyes
by: Hillel Fuld

Don't you just love when you have one of your longest lasting questions about life answered?

Growing up and studying the Torah, many things baffled me but one thing I never understood was how the Jewish people, after experiencing blatant miracles in Egypt, like the splitting of a freaking sea, still doubted God and his existence.

The question didn't end there, that was only the beginning. Throughout the generations, when I look at how we behaved, how we reacted to events, positive ones or negative ones, like our inability to read the writing on the wall, I always wondered how we, we as in our nation, could be so blind.

Then I examine our current situation, both internally in Israel and globally in the U.S, UN, EU, etc and I realize it is happening again, our blindness. How are we not seeing the miracles unfold before our eyes?!

I am not sure if "miracles" is the right word, but let's call it divine intervention. How is there a single person in this country that doesn't see how clearly there is someone running the show here and it ain't Mr. Obama.

Since I mentioned him, let's start there. The leader of the free world signing treaties with the world's great supporter of terror. Mr. Obama claims to have our back, normal intelligent people claim he has our back, then he transfers hundreds of billions of dollars to a regime that launches missiles with the words "Israel must be wiped out" painted on them. And no one thinks this is strange? Not a word from Obama and no one thinks this is strange? Not a word uttered by the free world, the ones who "have our back" and no one thinks this is strange?

Let's talk about Israel. A microscopic country the world is obsessed with, but literally obsessed, that is surrounded in all directions by blood thirsty enemies who live for our death. And yet, we are here. We are here and we are flourishing. We are flourishing and we have built a technology superpower.

They are trying to kill us with knives, axes, machine guns, and screwdrivers, and as a whole, with few horrible exceptions, exceptions that are gut wrenching, but as a whole, we are surviving and they are not. Open your eyes!! Blatant freakin miracles!!

Rockets! We left Gaza. Not a Jew in Gaza. Tens of thousands of rockets raining on our heads and not one single politician got up and said "I'm sorry. I was wrong. We shouldn't have handed over Gaza to a people that democratically elect a group like Hamas. I don't know what I was thinking." Not one. Any logic!? No! Someone is running the show.

Obama and Bibi. Netanyahu, like him or not, is running the only democratic forward thinking, freedom supporting regime in the whole region. We have insane leaders here, in case you didn't notice. And what is Obama and the global community obsessed with? What are they calling an obstacle to peace? Whether or not Bibi notified the White House he couldn't make the meeting with Obama. And not only the global community. Normal rational people are discussing this too!! Have you seen what's going on in Syria?? But sure, let's discuss whether Bibi spoke to Obama in a condescending tone. Someone else is running the show. It ain't logic!

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. This thing we like to call Palestinians. Is there really no logic and reason left in the world? Is the divine intervention so strong that people can literally not see clearly anymore? Reminds me of our history once again.

We occupied their land. There is no history book in the world that'll show you an Arab Palestinian country ever existed but forget history, let's talk peace. Ok. Show me one of their leaders, one that has any sort of significance that says he or she wants peace.

Show me one that says Israel has a right to exist. This is what we're talking about, this is how low we've gone. We are supposed to make peace when the other side cannot utter the words "you have a right to exist." Again, rational Intelligent people are still discussing this "two state solution" silliness.

Can someone open their eyes for a second?? How can you offer a two state solution when one side of the equation does not think the other has a right to exist??

"No, they don't mean it when they promote terror to their kids and call their terrorists martyrs, this is the 'occupation' talking."

Is there any logic left? The rules of physics are that if you are claiming that A is the exclusive cause of B, then without A, there is no B!

Was there terror before 1967?? Before the so called occupation?? Answer the question. Were Arabs massacring Jews in Hebron in 1929 before there was even a state?? There was. Therefore A is not the cause of B. We done with that lie now??

No? Is there occupation in Gaza? We left. Is there terror from Gaza? Yes.

We done yet? No? Someone else is running the show and hardening our hearts.

Not convinced? The liberal world, the ones who are obsessed with human rights, equality, and freedom are literally the same ones spewing antisemitic slogans the likes of which we haven't seen since 1930's in Germany. It is not subtle anymore, it is blatant and it is everywhere and again, intelligent people, some of our very own, cannot see the writing on the wall! Again! Someone else is running the show...

The press... Murderous people with knives trying to kill women and children in the streets and the press is silent, deafening silence! When the murderous terrorist is eliminated, the press rooms spring into action. "Three Palestinian terrorists killed in three different occasions". You've seen the headlines. Not misleading. Not misrepresenting. Downright incitement and lies. And the world? The global community in the face of these lies? Blind and silent. Someone else is running the show.

Listen folks, I can go on for hours. There is no logic left, it is all gone. It is all blatantly part of a bigger plan being put in place and we are all so obviously blind to it.

My question has been answered. We are a stubborn people that doesn't like to see things as they are. We always were. But you know what? Good thing for us, that never stopped Him from taking us out of Egypt, it never stopped us from surviving the pogroms, the inquisition, the Holocaust and countless other attempts to annihilate us. We win every time.

I'll just say one thing. We can continue to close our eyes to the insanity of this conflict but I, for one, prefer a state of Israel the world hates then an Auschwitz the world is silent about.

They can continue to obsess over our "Apartheid state" and we will continue to innovate.

They can continue to obsess over our "Executions of Palestinians" and we will continue to defend ourselves. Because, now for the first time, we can!

They can continue to pour money into barbaric regimes that want our destruction then call themselves allies, and we will continue to come out victorious.

The only thing we have to do is open our eyes and watch history unfold as our enemies banish and the Jews stand strong. Once again.

No logic. No reason. No explanation. Downright miracles.

He is splitting the sea for us again.

Open your eyes!!

Biden Condemns Abbas...What Does it Mean?

Let me say in no uncertain terms: The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts. This cannot become an accepted modus operandi. This cannot be viewed by civilized leaders as an appropriate way in which to behave. It is just not tolerable in the 21st century. They’re targeting innocent civilians, mothers, pregnant women, teenagers, grandfathers, American citizens. There can be no justification for this hateful violence and the United States stands firmly behind Israel when it defends itself as we are defending ourselves at this moment as well.... And this failure to condemn terrorism should be condemned itself by everybody in the international community."
                                                     --  Joe Biden, VP of US
How do we know it is an election year and the Democrats are desperate? They actually condemned terrorism unequivocally even though it was directed at Israelis...(yes, yes, Netanyahu had to remind him that the Palestinian leadership has not condemned these attacks and has actually done much more to promote them), but still Biden said the words that needed to be said. The only problem is, they are, as many of us expected, too little, too late...

And how much you want to bet some will fall for it? More than 30 people have been murdered... Hundreds of wounded in over 300 attacks for months and months.

Were these last attacks more brutal? No.

Was this the first American killed in attacks here? No.

Why now? Because Biden and his family were close to these attacks? Close enough to hear the sirens, close enough to know that as they stood, a man was murdered and ten others were stabbed? No.

Why now, America? Think... The answer is November, 2016.

And why too little? Because the condemnation is for the wrong thing. Abbas didn't just fail to condemn terrorism... Dial it up. Abbas is supporting, inciting, and rewarding terrorism.

I thank Joe Biden and the Democratic administration for FINALLY saying the words that needed to be said...and I still urge people NOT to vote for Bernie or Hilary based on the words they suddenly start spouting now to get your votes. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

That's the Second Time

We're making plans for this weekend. Amira broke her ankle a few weeks ago and so this week we'll be eating at her house. Years and years ago, we adopted a lone soldier and he became like a son...became a son to us. A couple of years later, he told us that his brother was coming and so we claimed his brother as a son too. Then, a few years later, their sisters moved to Israel and we claimed them as well.

They have amazing parents back in the States...and here in Israel, we do the best we can to be there if they need something...and they are there for us as well. So, having not seen them in a while, I did a motherly thing and invited ourselves over...if it helps, I'll bring some food along!

Two weekends ago, David told us that he would not be coming home for the next two weekends. Then last week, I was so happy to hear plans had changed and he would be home. When he left Sunday morning, I knew he would be in the army this weekend...but then, a few days ago, he told me there was a chance that he'd be home.

Just now, he told me that he wasn't coming out of the army after all. And the army got me again! I was so sure I'd learned - never count on anything until it happens...but I was so hoping. Worse, I told David about the plans for this weekend and he responded, "that's the second time you went to Mera's house with Chaim when I couldn't come."

And there, in a nutshell, is the truth of serving your country...it isn't easy to be on the outside, to know that life is happening and you are missing out. For the most part, the army is pretty good about letting the boys go home when there's something important happening. The exceptions to this rule are usually when you are in the first months of training, as David is now, and when there's an emergency situation.

I felt so bad when I heard the words, "that's the second time" - he knows I didn't plan it; he knows we desperately wish he was coming home. And he knows that there will be things he will miss along the way. Doesn't make it any easier, his knowing...my knowing...

IONP Condemns the Murder of Two Palestinians in Israel

Just received this press release from the IONP and thought it important enough to share.

Date: March 9, 2016

Subject: Joint Press Release from IONP Headquarters in London, Washington, Stockholm, NY and Ramallah
For Immediate Release

Title: Two Palestinians Shot While Innocently Picking Their Noses in a Car

Early this morning in Jerusalem, Israeli police shot two Palestinians dead. The men were sitting in their car, which was reported to have acted on its own to nearly run over a pedestrian. Israeli guards shot at the car, accidentally missing the car and killing the passengers inside. The two men were long-time members of the IONP (International Organization of Nose Pickers).

In a press conference called shortly after the incident in Jerusalem, Norm Shnoze, Chairperson of IONP stated, "Look, I'm Jewish and I know the Israelis are having a hard time but they didn't even give these guys a chance to explain. I'm sure they really meant only to stop and offer the pedestrian a tissue. We have to all just get along."

The IONP immediately condemned the shooting of two of their members and suggested Israelis are being paranoid, "Just because someone was killed yesterday and over a dozen people were injured in at least five attacks doesn't mean Israelis should shoot nose pickers. Yes, I'm aware that there have been 300 attacks or more in the last few weeks, but how many of them were committed by nose pickers?"

Mahmoud Bicker, Chair of the Ramallah IONP branch denied that the ISIS flag found in the car meant that the men were terrorists. Over a video connection, Bicker said "Doesn't everyone have an ISIS flag in their car? I do."

Asked whether the men in the car had opened fire on a bus earlier in the morning and had also shot and seriously wounded an Israeli man near HaTzanchanim Street, Bicker responded, "Details, details. We are talking about nose picking not the news."

US Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Israel, condemned the deaths saying that random folks picking their noses should not be targeted and not everyone who picks their nose is a terrorist. He called on Israel to show restraint. "We don't shoot nose pickers in America," he stressed, "even work place picking is something that a democracy has to accept from time to time."

Israel's national police spokesperson, Micki Rabinstein released the following statement, "Israel is a democracy, open to all, including nose pickers. The police did not target these men because they were picking their noses but because they were Palestinian terrorists targeting Israeli civilians."

"Details, details," replied the IONP after learning of Micki's statement, "we are going to the UN. We've already amassed enough votes to issue a condemnation."

"They were f******g terrorists," shouted Rabinstein as he was led away by the IDF spokesperson's office who was heard whispering to Micki, "give up...they're so f*****g stupid they'll never get it.

And there you have, another day in paradise.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Business Times Reports Three Palestinians Shot Dead

The International Business Times, whoever the heck they are, reports that three Palestinians were shot dead today in Israel, just as US Vice President Joe Biden arrives for talks. You can't make this stuff up, at least I can't. My brain doesn't work that way. I guess the good news for the IBT is that Priyanka Mogul's brain does work that way. I mean, if you think that's a good thing. I don't.

I think she's an idiot...no. I mean, I'm sure she's not but after the day we've had in Israel, that's the best term I can come up with. Allow me, please, to explain. In a technical way, Mogul's right.

Three Palestinians were indeed shot and killed today (in fact, three were shot and another was stabbed to death so maybe she should have written four dead). Allow me to explain, please.

The first to die was a Palestinian woman, about 50 years of age. She made one major mistake. She got very close to an Israeli border guard...no, no, he didn't shoot her.

She attempted to stab HIM...and police standing nearby saw what she was doing and shot her before she could injure the guard. Now, one could say he was armed...but then again, so was she. So, she's dead...that makes one.

The next to die was the Arab that was stabbed. The one that good old Mogul missed in her report. No wait, she did report that a Palestinian died in Petach Tikvah so what that means is she just got her information wrong...one of many inaccurate points (we call them lies). The Arab was indeed stabbed to death and, to be honest here, he was stabbed with his own knife.

The knife was brought to the scene by the Palestinian who stuck it into the neck of a Jewish man. Here in Israel, we call that a stabbing attack or a terrorist attack - you choose. The man pulled the knife out of his neck and rushed at the terrorist and stabbed him to death, thereby saving the lives of other people in the store. We call that heroism here in Israel. Mogul says the Palestinian police was shot and killed. She's wrong.

The next to die was a Palestinian in Jerusalem. Here Mogul does admit that the Palestinian opened fire on Israeli police. She doesn't bother mentioning that two policemen were shot and critically wounded. She then says police chased the terrorist...oh, she doesn't call him that, for goodness' sake. Happy to report all of this with certainty it happened, suddenly Mogul introduces her prejudice. She says he opened fire on police and then ran. But moments before he was shot and killed, Mogul says "it is alleged that the attacker continued to fire at police." Did she miss the video (seriously) where you can HEAR gunshots...or are all of those coming from the police? Never mind, the point is the headlines says three Palestinians were shot dead. One tried to attack a border guard in Jerusalem, one stabbed a civilian and was stabbed (we'll get to the third one that was shot in a second), and one was shot in Jerusalem after firing at police and critically wounding two.

The fourth Palestinian to die was also shot by Israeli police...after he stabbed 10 people, killing one (an American tourist) and wounding 10 others, including four who are in critical condition. The rampage only stopped after the Palestinian was shot.

So, you have four dead Palestinians:
  • One tried to stab a border guard
  • One shot two policemen
  • One stabbed a man in the neck
  • One stabbed at least 10 people, killing one
All told, one Israeli was murdered today, four others are in serious condition, more than a dozen wounded...and the only headlines this idiot reporter could come up with is "Three Palestinians shot dead." 

What was shot dead today was the integrity of the International Business Times.


Dear Palestinian Woman

A 50-year-old Palestinian woman, attempted to stab an Israeli border guard this morning. Police noticed her actions and shot her before she succeeded. She was seriously wounded and died of her injuries. No Israelis were hurt in this latest terror attack.
And so I began to think...
Dear Palestinian Woman,
I've never been shot. I pray to God that I never will be. 
But here you are, shot dead despite attempts to save your miserable life. You approached a policeman this morning in Jerusalem and pulled out a knife and the police shot you. Up to this morning, it's very possible that in the important milestones in life, you are I were very similar.
You were around 50 years old, just a bit younger than me. I am a daughter, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I wonder what you are...or were...other than a terrorist...thankfully an inept and dead one at that.
Did you have children, a husband, and grandchildren? Someone's world could have changed today, if you had succeeded. Last Wednesday, Tzvika Cohen was a much loved security guard in Maale Adumim who greeted people as they entered and left the mall here. Last Thursday, he took the place of another guard who was too sick to stay the night shift.
An Arab worker, one with whom he would sit and drink coffee, succeeded in attacking Tzvika from behind. Over and over, he hit Tzvika with an ax and now, as his family and community pray for his recovery, our city has changed. The people are angry and don't want Arab workers in our city. We know that all workers are not guilty, not all are terrorists. But this one, who was, got in on a work permit, drank coffee and was friendly with the mall personnel...until he decided to try to kill someone.
Today, you tried to do to someone else what that Arab worker did - destroy a person's life and forever change a family. You failed because our Border Guards have learned that you cannot trust - not even a woman, not even a young child. And so they are on alert, always. They watched you approach. Perhaps they saw fear in your eyes; perhaps they saw hatred. Whatever it was, they knew, even before you pulled the knife, that you had come to kill.
And so, as you pulled out the knife, they were ready...you approached one guard; others saw and shot you...and you died. In that minute and the few that you had left on this earth...did you think of your world, the one you abandoned?
You failed to hurt anyone and so the world of Israel goes on, but the world you have worked to shape for the last 50 years has changed. Who will take care of your family? Perhaps your husband has other wives...that is something we don't have so I don't know how it works. I guess he'll sleep with the other wives more often now that he doesn't have to sleep with you. They'll see to his needs, make sure he is fed.
But why would his other wives care about your children and your grandchildren? I once spoke to an Arab named Daoud about his wives. His first wife was 46 years old at the time and he called her "the poor one." Perhaps that is how your husband thought of you. Maybe you hated that he took other wives...I certainly would hate it if my husband turned to another.
Do you have children? I have five. Three are married to the most wonderful people. They've built amazing lives, but I still feel they need me. I talk to them almost every day...one is angry at me now but still I tell him that I love him and give him a hug or a kiss...and he hugs me back. I don't think there are many things in life as strong as a mother's love so I can't help wondering what happened to yours?
Do you have children? Are they all grown? My youngest is 16 years old...I watch her grow and I marvel at the woman that is beginning to emerge. She is beauty and grace and drama, just on the edge of tomorrow. She comes to my room and tells me all about her world. What of your daughters? Your sons? My children know that I will cross the world to get to them, move mountains if I have to.
And your children...what have you taught them - that you'd rather kill a Jew than be a mother to them? That if they are to emulate you, they too must live and perhaps die, by the knife? Maybe you think that at 50 you have finished being a mother, that they don't need you? I guess that's something you have to hope is true, now that you've chosen to leave them.
Do you have grandchildren? I have three small grandchildren. They fill my life with such joy. Don't tell my children, but I think my oldest grandchild is the smartest human being in the world. I could listen to him forever. I read to him and he tells me stories. I have to remember to speak English with him even when he answers me in  Hebrew. My granddaughter melts my heart when she calls up the stairs, "Savta, I coming" or "Savta, good night. I love you." And my youngest grandson, there are no words. He simply looks at me and I know the world is right.
Do you have grandchildren? What will they remember of you now? Perhaps they won't remember you at all. You'll be a name, a martyr. They'll learn that you preferred to die some glorious death rather than watch them grow. That your hate of Jews you don't even know is stronger than any love you supposedly had for them. Will you expect them to revenge your meaningless death?
Mine will remember the sweet sauce I put on my hamburgers, my potato kugel...which is really my mother-in-law's recipe. They will remember that I held them when they cried, played with them. They will remember the big toy car and the slide I have for them to play with when they come visit.
So, now you are dead. Perhaps I'll never know your name, whether you were married, had children, had grandchildren. If you did, you have added more poison to the next generation and the next. And the irony is that you are likely to find out that heaven isn't nearly as welcoming to terrorists as you were led to believe.
Oh, CNN and Reuters and BBC will write about the Palestinian woman who was shot by Israelis today. They'll add the line about your having pulled a knife deep down in the article. You'll be added to the statistics - of terror attacks in the Israeli tally. But really, after more than 300 attacks in the last few months, one in which thankfully no one was injured, really ranks low.
So what we have here, dear Palestinian woman, is a wasted death of a wasted life.

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