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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Defense Round Up: U.S. Showing Weakness Abroad

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

This is not your father’s Egypt, under the evolving rule of Mohammed Morsi.  This is a Sinai-militarizing, Jerusalem-coveting, trash-talking Egypt.  (Wait – maybe that is your father’s Egypt.)  And Egyptian officials have quickly turned their trash-talking skills on their one-time partner, the United States.

Sadly, the statements of Suez Canal Authority chairman Mohab Mamish sounded just credible enough to get legs in the U.S. media.  According to Mamish, when Iranian frigate Alvand approached the Suez Canal in February 2012, headed for Syria, the U.S. asked Egypt to prohibit Alvand’s transit through the Canal.  In a 26 August interview, Mamish also refers to a “U.S. request to strike” the Iranian ship at the time.

The latter assertion is just silly, and tips off the unbelievable nature of the whole tale.  No one in the U.S. military chain of command, up to and including President Obama, would think it was a good idea to “strike” the Iranian frigate.  But even if someone did, doing so at the Suez Canal, with the full knowledge of Egypt, is as wrong as it gets, approach- and venue-wise.  If the U.S. were going to “strike” another nation’s warship under the circumstances of the Alvand’s transit, we’d just do it wherever we wanted to during the ship’s transit, without asking another nation for permission to do it in her territorial waters.

Similarly, the statement about the U.S. asking to have the Alvand turned back at the Suez Canal fails to hold up under scrutiny.  It would be a very big deal to ask Egypt to prohibit the transit of a sovereign nation’s warship, and frankly, the U.S. would have to know such a request would be turned down.  Egypt has cooperated, since the inauguration of the War on Terror, in the interdiction of merchant ships carrying arms for terrorists (e.g., Hezbollah).  But a warship is the representative of her nation, and stopping an Iranian frigate would be, in effect, a declaration of failing relations between Egypt and Iran.

Of course that’s Egypt’s call to make.  Moreover, there are literally dozens of U.S. professionals in the State Department, Defense Department, and on the National Security Council staff who know that asking Egypt to do this would be a foolish and inappropriate request.  You don’t ask Egypt to just stick her neck out.  The goal of preventing Iranian arms from getting to Syria is a sound one, but deputizing Egypt to take the risk of the showdown with Iran – especially when the U.S. is being passive and following from behind – is an unsound approach.

The ideologues on Obama’s national-security team may not know that, but their career staffers do.  If this issue got to Obama’s level, I imagine there was someone conveying the sensible point of view.  That said, I’m not convinced the U.S. ever entertained this course of action at all.  It sounds like a fabrication to me, or at the very least, a wild exaggeration.

If I had to guess the purpose of these statements, I would say it’s to establish the theme of Egypt standing up to and confounding the United States.  The following paragraph appears in the Breitbart and original World Tribune stories:

Mamish says the Egyptian military has “tight control” of the canal at this time, intimating that they are the ones making decisions about which nations will and won’t be allowed to pass through it. The U.S. has no say in the matter.

Well, of course we have no say in the matter.  We never have.  Egypt runs the Canal.  This is not a point that needs to be reaffirmed – complete with tales about how Egypt stood up to the U.S. – unless Egypt perceives a need to score political points.  And that appears to be what’s going on.

Defense without, er, defense

Meanwhile, as recently as Wednesday, Stars & Stripes had a story on the new, deployable tactical operations center the U.S. 10th Army (based in Germany) will take to Israel for Exercise Austere Challenge 2012.  The deployable TOC supports air and missile defense, and is to be a central feature of the high-priority ballistic-missile defense (BMD) facet of Austere Challenge.  Using Austere Challenge to exercise missile defense is in line with President Obama’s emphasis on missile defense for Israel as a security response to the Iranian threat.

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

Back To School Made Easy

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The new school year is just around the corner, and as the summer days wind down the air is filled with the anticipation of the approaching back-to-school season. During this time, students and their parents often feel the apprehension and worry of preparing for school. Of course, we’d rather take advantage of these final warm vacation days and really enjoy ourselves, but the nervousness of the new school year is palpable. The best cure for this anxiety is to help ease the fear of the unknown by preparing for school. Set your children up for success by helping them prepare for this transition smoothly. Here are some tips to help you and your children experience this season bump-free.

* Display interest and excitement as the school year approaches. If you are enthusiastic and confident about the new experiences your children will have, they will be too. It’s contagious.

* Feelings of nervousness and worry about the new school year are common and expected. Take the time to discuss which areas your child is concerned about. Listen to his/her worries and talk about what to expect on that first school day.

* Another great idea is to specifically discuss with your children the various aspects and schedule of the school day. Some scenarios to discuss include the morning bus ride, what davening will be like, different subjects you anticipate they will learn, and the change of teachers during different subject times. You can make the discussion very detailed and really paint the picture of that first day of school. For example, chat about which familiar faces they will see walking into the classroom, who they will sit with on the bus and at lunch, what they will eat during lunch and recess, what activities will they opt for during recess time, and most importantly what to expect at the end of the day. Will they be picked up from school or take the bus home, what will your children find when they walk through the door – you waiting with a smile, a snack and a note on the table from you or a sibling or neighbor to play with. Remember, knowledge and familiarity is the sure way to extinguish the jitteriness of a new school year.

* Help your children acclimate to the school year routine and schedule. Have your children go to bed at “school-night bedtime” for a few nights prior to the first day of school and get up at the time they will need to on school days. This process will ease the adjustment and transition from summertime to school year schedule.

* Create a predictable routine during the first week of school that you will stick with throughout the school year. You and your children should prepare school clothes, book-bags, lunch, and snacks each night for the following school day. Also, have a set routine for after school hours. For example, decide how much time will be allotted to play and unwind after school; when dinner will be served; when homework will get done and a consistent bedtime and routine.

* Find out what materials will be needed for school and make sure your children are prepared with it on the first day. This may seem like common knowledge, but often in the rush to get everything done for school vital materials are forgotten until well into the school year. Having your children prepared with the necessary materials will help prevent anxiety, and empower them on the first day of school to succeed. Moreover, shopping for school supplies can be a fun experience if done with enough preparation (and without the stress that comes with last-minute tasks). These excursions are a great way to turn your children’s nervousness into the similar feeling of excitement for the renewal of the school year.

* If this is your child’s first time attending school, have him/her explore the classroom and school grounds before the first day. This will familiarize your child with the school setting and help reduce his/her nervousness.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy school year.

An Evening of Firebomb and Stoning Attacks

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

UPDATE: Israeli TV reports that there is a possibility that the attack on the bus was a misthrow, and the taxi was not the target. Ha’aretz is now reporting that police are investigating whether the van was actually hit by a firebomb, or if the car overturned for “other reasons”.

 

A Palestinian taxi was hit by a firebomb Thursday evening in Gush Etzion. Six members of the family traveling in the taxi were taken to the hospital with first to third degree burns. Police found one unthrown firebomb at the scene.

Near Kfar Tapuach, six firebombs were thrown at Israeli cars.

South of Shechem, stones were thrown at Israeli cars.

And in Jerusalem, Egged bus #3 was hit by stones near the Old City.

On Monday an Israeli man accidentally drove into the village of Husan near Beitar, and was attacked by Palestinians and his car was stolen.

Last week, an Israeli car was stoned near Husan. Another Israeli car stoned near El Arub in Gush Etzion, multiple cars were attacked near Beit Umar in Gush Ezion, other Israeli cars were stoned near Karnei Shomron.

Arabs also attacked an Arab-owned car near Halhul, when they mistook the car for an Israeli-owned one.

 


Israeli Bus hit by a stone on Thursday near the Kotel.
Photo Credit: Yossi Ovitz

 

Woman Says Tzedaka Dollar Saved her Life in Bus Crash

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Eliana Siegal says she believes she survived unharmed a bus crash yesterday, Thursday, on Interstate 55, because her father gave her a dollar to give to charity, a Jewish tradition that she said helped protect her en route.

On Thursday morning, Eliana Siegal boarded a double-decker Megabus at Union Station in downtown Chicago, on her way to a concert in St. Louis that night.

Megabus is an intercity bus service providing discount travel services throughout the Northeast, parts of the Southeast, and Midwestern United States, and in southern Canada.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a few hours later, the 64-passenger bus she was sitting in blew a tire and skidded until it smashed into a concrete pillar of an overpass on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, Illinois, some 60 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Television footage from the scene shows crews on ladders reaching inside the smashed front end of the bus. Thirty ambulances and five medical helicopters responded, and I-55 was shut down in both directions from the Carlinville exit to the Litchfield exit.

One woman was killed and dozens of other passengers were injured, Illinois State Police said.

As many as half the people on the bus were injured, according to Illinois State Police Capt. Scott Compton. Five of the injured were trapped and had to be extricated, including the woman who died, Aditi R. Avhad, of Columbia, Mo.

“I flew forward, and my glasses were smashed into the back of the seat in front of me,” said Siegal, 16, of Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood. “People were panicking, and babies were crying. A woman across the aisle from me was screaming that her leg was broken.”

West Rogers Park is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, with a prominent Jewish population, dozens of synagogues and several Jewish day schools.

Siegal, who was riding on the top tier of the double-decker bus, said she and other passengers exited the bus quickly, afraid it might explode. She told the Tribune that the driver and some passengers were trapped.

Four people were airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, and another two were taken there by ambulance. Nineteen other passengers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries in local hospitals.

The Talmud (Pesachim 8.) cites Rabbi Eliezer who states: “Emissaries of a mitzvah will not be harmed,” suggesting that if a person is on a mission to fulfil a certain commandment in a dangerous environment (this was often applied to rabbis who labored to free fellow Jews from prison) enjoy a divine protection. This generated a custom in many Jewish communities of giving a person a small amount of money to give to charity at their destination, turning them into emissaries of a mitzvah.

A Busload of Civil Administration and Border Guard Troops Demolish Two Outposts

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Around 1 AM Monday night, large Border Guard and Civilian Administration forces arrived on a bus and in several other vehicles at two outposts in Gush Talmonim in the Benjamin region. They also brought with them a tractor.

The forces leveled two homes in each of the outposts of Ramat Mordechai and Givat Egoz.

One of the structures that was destroyed in Givat Egoz had previously been set on fire by Palestinians on February 21 this year. IDF trackers followed the arsonists to the Arab village of Ras Karkar.

Initially, Givat Egoz was established after the home of the Goldmintz family had been demolished Win the settlement of Yad Yair, and since they had been living in the new outpost.

Ramat Mordechai was named after the late Mordechai Schivschorder and his family, who were killed in a suicide bombing in the Sbarro pizza restaurant, August 9, 2001.

O’ Jerusalem

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

From my 6th row aisle seat, I observed the motley assemblage ascending the Egged bus I was riding in Jerusalem. Nearly all shared one common characteristic; they were tuned in and tuned out – tuned into themselves and tuned out to their fellow passengers. Some qualified for chiropractic “before” pictures with necks inelegantly cocked supporting cell phones, while others visually displayed virtual euphoria plugged into MP3s. What a pity. Victims of technology, they will never taste the adventure and reality of the Jerusalem that greeted me some 30 years before.

The primary mode of transportation for the majority of Jerusalemites for decades has been an Egged bus. Call it mazal, call it destiny; Jerusalem is a city that always gives more than you bargain for, even regarding something as mundane as a bus ride. Depending on your mazal, you might have been happened upon by an elderly Sepharadi, shuffling down the aisle schlepping his bags and squishing himself into you as if you were part family, part favorite recliner. No sooner had he landed in his seat, when he turned to you and asked how many children you had; “How many?” not “If?” Escorted by the aroma of Machaneh Yehuda wafting from the bags he piled half in the aisle, half in his lap and somehow, half on you, he volunteered stories of his native Baghdad, oblivious to the fact that you never requested. Offense to your American etiquette aside, no sooner had he launched into his verbal missive than he captivated your imagination with a first-hand account of a life more charming than Lawrence of Arabia; a life so distant, so different from your own, so fascinating.

At times, “mazal” might place you next to an elderly payos-framed chassid attired in typical chassidic garb, who reminisced about the long destroyed European chassidic court he visited in his youth – having deemed destiny wanted you to know while anointing him as narrator. Graphically breathing life into vague memories, he artistically resuscitated history into current events; unearthing the life buried in those all too familiar photos of destruction every Jew knows only too well. Swept up in a surreal reality, you traveled with him, at one moment swaying next to him at the Rebbe’s tisch and moments later, hovering over him like an accompanying angel as he fled the destruction of his town and the tragic end of his family. Were you listening for yourself or for him? You never really knew.

Mazal might find you seatmates with an old Jerusalemite offering a personal account of stories you read decades before in Yerushalayim Shel Maala. Stories you hitherto suspected might be liberally sprinkled with poetic license swiftly became vividly real and authentic. The cobblestone streets of Me’ah She’arim visited umpteen times as archaic tourist sites morphed into someone’s home; the place where Jews lived great in spirit in spite of hardships unfathomable to you, the American.

And, as each passing traveler trudged off into his or her own world, never did they leave without gruffly blessing you with nachas from your children and that they be healthy and good Jews…

How many exotic journeys did I take, how much of the world did I witness in just a few stops on a bus? One of the things I loved most about exploring Jerusalem was never knowing in advance what awaited me. In Jerusalem, even a “mundane” bus ride boasts magical and majestic.

How much did I appreciate entering and experiencing the lives of Jews from throughout the world just because my ears were open and strangers – if they could be called that – filled them with their stories.

Today, the ears are closed. Nobody listens. Nobody communicates with live people. Nobody acknowledges the person next to him or her. People have become islands; traveling in public yet condemning themselves to solitary confinement. The Jerusalem that welcomed me was a city that understood the technology of people. Sadly, today I find people of technology. I lament the lost joy and intrigue – the journey into the unknown – that I experienced as a Wandering Jew, who, throughout all his wanderings, became enriched by the flavor of ethnic “baggage” each Jew brought here and unselfishly dropped in my lap. What an unimaginable wealth of gems are to be found upon the streets of Jerusalem, thanks to the people who love this Holy City, hold Jerusalem dear, share their stories and welcome strangers into their lives…

How Involved in Terror Against Israelis and Jews are the Iranians?

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/21-jul-12-how-involved-in-terror.html

When it comes to carrying out deadly terrorist attacks on Israelis and/or Jews, just how dangerous and persistent is the government of Iran?

The New York Police Department has an answer. Its intelligence analysis arm says the government-controlled Iranian Revolutionary Guards directly or via their undercover representatives have executed nine plots against Israeli or Jewish targets around the world so far this year. This was reported in a major syndicated story on Friday by Reuters ["Exclusive: New York police link nine 2012 plots to Iran, proxies"].

Three plots were foiled in January, three in February and another three since late June. Iran has repeatedly denied supporting militant attacks abroad. The documents, labeled “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” said that this week’s suicide bomb attack in Bulgaria was the second plot to be unmasked there this year. The reports detail two plots in Bangkok and one each in New Delhi, Tbilisi, Baku, Mombasa and Cyprus. Each plot was attributed to Iran or its Lebanese Hezbollah militant allies, said the reports, which were produced following the bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria of a bus carrying Israeli tourists. Iran on Thursday dismissed “unfounded statements” by Israel linking Tehran to the Burgas blast, saying they were politically motivated accusations which underscored the weakness of the accusers… U.S. officials say they increasingly concur with Israeli assessments that Iran and its proxies organized the killing of seven Israeli tourists in Burgas by a suicide bomber after they boarded an airport bus.

The indefatigable Challah Hu Akbar has pulled together publicly accessible news analysis and reports, and draws the conclusion that the Islamic Republic or its proxies have done more than Reuters is reporting. His posting, also from Friday, is called “A Review of Recent Iranian/Hezbollah Plots Against Israelis & Jews Abroad” and is worth a visit.

Here is a distillation of Challah Hu Akbar’s posting, with the facts of the incidents drawn from publicly available sources.

-May 2011 – Bombing in Istanbul: Eight people were wounded in a bombing attack that was publicly attributed – like virtually all acts of terror in Turkey – to the the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK. The Italian daily Corriere della Sera says the terrorists were in fact from the Lebanon-based Islamist organization Hezbollah and they were targetting Israel’s consul general in Istanbul, Moshe Kimchi. [Report]

-January 2012 – Baku, Azerbaijan – Thwarted attempt to kill two Jewish teachers: Azerbaijan’s Ministry of National Security reported that its people had uncovered an attempt to kill two teachers employed at the Chabad Or Avner Jewish school in Baku. Three men were arrested. The charge is that they received smuggled arms and equipment from Iranian agents. [Report]

-January 2012 – Bulgarian secret service uncovered a planned attack on Israeli visitors: The plan was for a major “showcase” terror attack with Israeli citizens residing in, or traveling to, Bulgaria. The plan was to have the attack coincide with the anniversary of the killing of notorious Hezbullah figure, Imad Mughniyah, killed on Febuary 12, 2008. [Report]

-February 2012 - Car bombing of vehicle of Israeli diplomat’s wife’s in New Delhi: The freelance journalist arrested for facilitating an attack on an Israeli diplomat’s wife [we blogged about it here] was found by the Indian police to have been in close touch with Iranian officials, and had made two visits to Iran during 2011. [Report]

-February 2012 - Bangkok, Thailand: An explosives attack on Israeli diplomats: Three Iranians were arrested after their bombs went off prematurely (blowing off the legs of one of them) before they were able to execute a plan to attack Israeli diplomats. [Report]

-February 2012 - Bombing in Georgian Republic: The Thai authorities said they had discovered what they termed a “direct connection” between the attacks on Israeli diplomats in Bangkok with a bomb attack on the Israeli embassy in the Republic of Georgia [we blogged about that here] – as well as with the New Delhi attack. Police in Tbilisi defused an explosive device found in the car of an Israeli embassy employee a day after the fourth death anniversary of Mughniyah. The common element: the involvement of the Iranians. [Report] Iran’s response was, and is, that Israel carried out an attack on its own embassy [source].

-February 2012 - Another attack on Israelis foiled in Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan stopped another terror attack and arrested members of a linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. The men were arrested and their firearms and explosives seized before they could do any real harm. [Report]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/how-involved-in-terror-against-israelis-and-jews-are-the-iranians/2012/07/22/

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