For hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in the south, yesterday was tumultuous in the worst way. Unstemmed rocket attacks have been conducted by one or another of the terrorist groups based in Hamas-controlled Gaza at all hours of the day and night. While it's tempting to look at the absence of deaths on the Israeli side, the reality is any one of these rockets and mortars can easily have exacted the heaviest of prices. It's our great fortune that this did not happen today.
When something outrageous goes on for a long time, people stop being outraged. It is boring to hear or read about things like genocidal wars in Africa, Europe’s collapse into poverty, or the complaints of Israelis about being the targets of thousands of rockets, day in and day out. I’m in Israel now, so a few words about the rockets. Everyone I talk to says the same thing: how can this be allowed to continue?
Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem has its roots back in the late nineteenth century when it was known as Shuk Beit Ya’acov after the nearby neighbourhood of the same name which was established in 1885. Two years later, the Machane Yehuda neighbourhood was built and the market continued to grow. Under British Mandate rule the market was given a make-over, permanent stalls and roofing were built and the new name caught on.
We spent Shabbat in Ashkelon, visiting my wife’s parents. On Motzei Shabbat, my wife stayed in Ashkelon (in the red glare of the rockets fired from Gaza) so that she could take her mother for a medical treatment in the morning. I drove back to Yerushalayim with my children. Along the way, we passed a stretch of fertile farmland. The heavenly rains that had fallen during Shabbat seemed to have awakened the earth, and the pungent aroma of fresh cow manure wafted into the car. My younger boys started gagging and making jokes, the way children do about such things.
There’s a story on a website called Behadrey Haredim (in the rooms of Charedim). This Hebrew language - Israeli based website is now available in English. It tells of how Satmar Chasidim, at the behest of their Rebbe have pulled out all the stops to help fellow Jews in neighborhoods such as Far Rockaway and Bayswater that were suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
This picture has criss-crossed the blogosphere and Twitter network like crazy last night. It pretends to be an image of children who, along with the man lying on a stretcher next to them, were allegedly targeted today by Israel's forces for being terrorists. In reality, the picture is four years old. It has nothing to do with anything that happened in Gaza last night.
On Tuesday, three IDF soldiers were wounded by a bomb planted near the border fence between Israel and the Gaza strip. On Thursday when soldiers were trying to repair the fence, a huge explosion occurred when a tunnel packed with explosives was detonated. Luckily only one soldier was lightly injured, but it could have been catastrophic. Then last night an IDF jeep in the area was struck by an antitank missile. Four soldiers were wounded, at least two seriously (reports vary), and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
This week’s average shows Likud Beitenu and Labor position similar to last week. Shas gains and takes the third position while Lapid’s Yesh Atid drops and falls into the fourth position. Hadash passes Meretz, while Kadima and Independence pick up gains. Am Shalem is also picking up steam. The right block gains ground this week with the help of Shas and Am Shalem’s gains.
I have to much I want to write about...but my mind is filled with two numbers - 30, and 9. Thirty is the number of rockets fired at Israel last night, hours after an Israel armored jeep was hit with an anti-tank missile, critically injuring two, lightly injuring two other soldiers. Nine is the number of rockets that had been fired at Israel by 9:00 this morning...schools in some areas are closed; people again ordered to stay near shelters.
Pashkvils (warning posters) were spread around the neighborhood, criticizing women wearing tight clothes, calling them "animals." According to the website Hadrei Haredim, the woman in question is being accused of luring young Haredi women to her path.
Could there be an Israeli politician more cynical than Ehud Olmert? Yesterday he accused PM Netanyahu of alienating President Obama — as if Obama could dislike him more — by ‘intervening’ in the US election.
As part of our effort to attract our beloved, Diaspora readers with honey, rather than to smash them repeatedly over their heads - in the next few blogs, we will travel the length and breadth of Eretz Yisrael, just like our forefather Avraham did in obeying God’s command, “Arise, walk about the Land through its length and breadth! For to you I will give it!”
As I began reading an article in the Forward by Aurora Mendelsohn about whether a Jewish woman can have it all (meaning a career and an observant family) I received a call from my daughter about an article in the Chicago Tribune about one woman who does have it all.
For many Israelis, the Presidential election in America had a special urgency because of the increasing nuclear threat from Iran, and the hope that Romney would take a more militant stance than Obama. I wrote a short story on the tragedy of looking to America for our salvation, which appears in my award-winner collection of short stories, “Days of Mashiach,” which was translated and published in France this year by a non-Jewish publisher, with reviewers comparing me to Voltaire and the famous fable writer, Jean de la Fontaine. Big deal. Anyway, enjoy the story, and for readers who value true Jewish literature, I invite you to check out some of my other books at Amazon.
Imagine if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced a 10-month partial freeze on incitement and antisemitism in the West Bank in a bid to restart stalled peace talks with Israel.
Somewhere between 68 and 70% of American Jewish voters went for Obama, depending on whose exit poll you believe. Israelis that I talk to are mystified. “Are they crazy? What were they thinking?” they ask. It’s not really mystifying. Here are some general facts about non-Orthodox and secular (the large majority) American Jews.
Since we believe Palestinian Arab casualties that result from Palestinian Arab mis-handling or misfiring of Palestinian Arab explosives, guns, rockets, mortars and the like almost never get reported in the mainstream news media, we will be watching to see how much coverage this incident below gets. It appears at this moment on a Bethlehem-based (and somewhat Hamas-hostile) Palestinian news site.
Once again I find myself congratulating the man I did not vote for. Barack Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term as President of the United States. As I said in my endorsement of his opponent, the President is a good and decent man. I don’t think he has been a bad President. He just hasn’t been a great President.
I know that I promised to lay the sledgehammer aside for awhile, but a few of yesterday’s news items made me batty. In one of them, the UJA-Federation of New York announced it was earmarking ten million dollars in emergency hurricane relief to its local network agencies and synagogues. Chevre! Chaval al hakesev!
Placing innocent Palestinian children in potentially dangerous situations, cynically hoping for a media coup stemming from any overreaction by IDF soldiers, is indeed shameful. However, such provocations by the Tamimis pale in comparison to an antisemitic Palestinian political culture which consistently sends messages to their youth that martyrdom – dying, or even murdering Israeli Jews, to advance the Palestinian cause – is one of the most important political values they should aspire to.