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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘mother’

A Soldier’s Mother: The Hypocrisy of Israel

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

As a technical writer, I can tell you that the hardest part of documenting a product is when it is a moving target, when the parameters keep changing. As a parent, I can tell you that if your rules keep changing, you’ll never really be able to get your children to listen to you. As a voter, I can tell you that the more a politician changes his/her position, the less likely it is that I will vote for him or her.

As an Israeli, I condemn any attempt to deny the followers of a religion access and the right to practice their religion on their holy sites. We as a nation would never enter the Bahai Temple in Haifa and remove all the Bahais. We have never attempted to close the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to Christians (and our police regularly enter only to stop Christian sects from killing each other (as told to me on three separate occasions by Israeli police).

We have only closed off the Temple Mount to Muslims after incidents of violence and even then, for very limited times and usually only restricting access to young males and not the entire Muslim population wishing to visit.

But when it comes to the Jews, our government rarely hesitates to block our access, restrict our rights, humiliate and insult Jewish visitors. And worse, the rules are arbitrarily enforced and constantly changing at the whim of the Jewish police and Arab WAQF who watches and waits to pounce because there is little more that can drive them to violence than the site of a Jewish man or woman whispering a prayer. Even moving one’s lips is enough to get you thrown off the Temple Mount…if you are a Jew.

When you expect rules to be followed, but keep changing them, the less respect you deserve, the less likely it is that anyone will uphold them.

The Jewish people have been fighting for centuries, for millennia, to be free – free to live in our land, free to worship our God, free to raise our children and practice our religion. And we have been successful throughout the world. The Soviet Union has collapsed and the Jews can now freely come here and, for the most part, practice Judaism if they choose to be there. Such it is in most of Europe, North, Central, and South America.

Really, it is only in Arab countries, Muslim lands, where Jews are restricted. For the most part, they have left; only small pockets of Jews remain. Syria has no Jews; Afghanistan might have one Jew left. Egypt has less than 40 and Yemen less than 20. There are reportedly around 35 in Bahrain and less than 10 in Iraq.

Only in Arab countries…and Israel, are Jews restricted from where they can travel, where they can pray. And not just pray. In Israel, for Jews wanting to visit the single most holy place in all of the world, the list of what we are not to do is both arbitrary and growing.

Can you imagine a sign such as this one placed at the entrance to Jerusalem or Tel Aviv forbidding entrance to non-Jews?

Tell me, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what logic are you attempting to convey about the importance of the Temple Mount to others, when you fail to uphold our rights yourself?

Yes, the world should watch the video you are so proud to announce (below) and attend the seminar you are so desperately offer the UN. Perhaps, Mr. Prime Minister, you should consider attending it yourself.

Even as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel…EVEN as our Prime Minister, you do not have the right to stop us from praying on the Temple Mount.  Why can’t you just say that if Jews praying on the Temple Mount offends our enemies, that is simply proof of what is wrong with them?

You are a hypocrite if you call to congratulate our athletes in Rio for standing proud against Arab intimidation there, but fail to show the same pride here. Yes, Or Sasson was correct in offering his hand to the Egyptian athlete, even knowing that there was a good chance that good old Islam El Shehaby was going to refuse to shake it. So why is it wrong for a Jew to pray? What is wrong with you, Mr. Prime Minister?

Let us be free to pray in every corner of our land, as we are free all over the world. Let us return in pride to the Temple Mount, as we have returned in pride to all other corners of our land. Call it. Announce it. Demand it. From this moment onward, Jews WILL pray on the Temple Mount and if the Arabs turn violence, THEY will be removed, not us. If THEY provoke us, the Temple Mount will be closed every mourning for four hours a day – and only Jews will be allowed up there…and Christians, because we are not afraid of Christian prayers…and even Muslims, if they promise not to be violent because we are not afraid of Muslim prayers either. Let all who are prepared to pray on the Temple Mount be allowed to do so in peace. Remove those who cause violence, not those who are the victims.

And if you won’t do it, Mr. Prime Minister of the State of Israel, then remove yourself. I think, Mr. Prime Minister, it isn’t only UNESCO and the UN that needs that history lesson.

And the list of things we cannot do…here it is…at least as of an hour or so ago…

You aren’t allowed to pray, if you are a Jew, on the Temple Mount.

You aren’t allowed to move your lips in silent prayer, if you are a Jew on the holiest site known to our religion

You aren’t allowed to whisper, lest you actually be saying a prayer, if you are a Jew.

You aren’t allowed to bless your people, your family, your children, unless you are a Jew, or a bereaved father who is able to “sneak” the prayer into a guided tour after his child has been brutally murdered, stabbed to death in her bed.

As of this past week, you aren’t allowed to cry, even if you are overwhelmed with the holiness of the place and the amazing opportunity to enter this holy place.

And as of today, you apparently aren’t even allowed to mourn up on the Temple Mount. You aren’t allowed to rip your clothing up there, if you are a Jew, because the guards who honor Muslim sensitivities above all others are Jewish and they know that a Jew in mourning rips their clothes as a sign of their grief.

That’s right. Can you imagine? A Jew is not allowed to whisper, cry, rip his shirt in grief. If he does, an Arab will come over and tell a Jewish policeman…look at him, look what he is doing. Get him out of here…and the policeman will.

This is what we have come to? This is the freedom we have in our land? That even our tears are considered enough of an insult to demand our being denied access to OUR Temple Mount?

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: Some Advice for Donald Trump

Monday, August 15th, 2016

{Disclaimer: No, I’m not a political analyst; not an expert on any specific political system, government, world. I’ve never won a presidential election but if it helps, I can honestly say I’ve never lost one. What I am is a complex mixture of worlds and places and beliefs and these views are mine alone, my advice for Donald Trump on how to win the election…with no guarantees but plenty of hope.}

An Open Letter to Donald Trump

Dear Donald,

I’m watching what is happening and I’m cringing. I am constantly correcting people – that isn’t what he meant…no, that’s not exactly what he said. What he means is…what he hopes is…despite what he said…

So, my first piece of advice is to shut up. I know I could be more diplomatic about how to phrase that but diplomacy right now doesn’t seem to be a strong point of yours and you seem to take pride in that, so I’m going to give it to you straight. You can probably win the election if you just shut up.

Hillary is a walking disaster; probably the worst candidate since Jimmy Carter and she might even be worse because she’s a lot smarter than he ever was. She will mess this up, but only if you let her and if you manage not to mess yourself up more.

So far, you aren’t managing to do that. In some corner of my brain, I respect the fact that you think you can win by being honest and telling Americans what you think. You can’t. They aren’t used to that kind of honesty from a candidate. If you offer the logical opinion that it is insane to open America’s borders without a system in place to protect Americans from the potential infiltration of thousands of terrorists, you are coming off as anti-Muslim.

Why? Good question and more than I can explain now but basically, Americans view politicians as used cars salesmen. Whatever you say is a fraction of the truth and so they’ve learned to filter a candidates words as either greater or lesser than the truth. Whatever direction will make you look worse – that’s how they’ll take your message and put it into that filter. If you say you don’t plan to raise taxes, that means you’ll raise them some. If you say you want to curb something, they’ll take that to mean you plan to cut it entirely.

The reality is, all nations need to protect their citizens and today’s greatest threat does indeed come from extremism. And yes, the most extreme nations in the world today are by an large Muslim nations – Iran, Libya, Syria, to name three. But Iran and Libya and Syria aren’t just across the ocean to most Americans, they are on a different planet.

Americans are worried more about their economy, their health care and day to day issues. If you’re going to talk – talk about what Obama has done to the military; speak about the proliferation of mass shootings – primarily in places where strict gun laws are already on the books. Gun control won’t stop a terrorist – it never has; it never will. You want them to focus on who the terrorist is? Good luck with that. They’ve had 8 years of denial to damage their ability. It’s a workplace accident; a man screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he guns people down somehow might not be a terrorist attack. Give that fight up, Donald, and move on. If you’re elected, you can begin to correct that by immediately recognizing truth and maybe Americans will catch up to you, but not now.

Reality check, Donald. Half the people you need to vote for you are women. You haven’t shown a lot of respect for women as equals in your life and the fact is, other than your daughter, your record with women sucks. So stop trying to defend it. Shut up. Hillary’s got Bill on her side and most women find him and their relationship repulsive. So let your daughter speak on that issue or give up.

You want to make America great but you know what, Americans are asking me what you mean by that. I think they’ve forgotten or maybe they think America still is great. From my experience, most Americans have little understanding of the world outside its borders and despite eight miserable years of Obama, have yet to realize that much of the world thinks America’s day has come and gone and this election is just proving them right. Shut up and maybe find a different slogan. After Americans swallowed “Yes we can” – they’re tired of meaningless words.

Learn. Speak to foreign leaders and ask them to tell you what they think. But listen. Learn to listen. Show pictures of you in the newspapers being advised by military leaders; congressmen and women. Set up meetings; let them talk and you listen. In every picture they take, show yourself LISTENING, absorbing, interested. Not talking. Not telling everyone you know better.

Understand the differences between the 50 states. What is important to people living in Alabama? Missouri? Idaho? Oregon? Meet with people and sit and listen. Ask their advice and talk about them, if you are going to speak at all let it be to show that you’ve learned how much you need to learn. Time is short.

If you stop talking and start listening, you have a chance. Fact is, you’ve surrounded yourself with good people – show them off. You ran that TV show for years. Important rule in being interviewed is not to bad-mouth others. Stop talking about Clinton. Let her shoot herself in the foot. Now’s the time to become Presidential…or lose. Show dignity because somehow Clinton is outclassing you in that area.

That’s what’s missing in this election – neither you nor Hillary strike us, the common people, as caring about us. You need us to vote for you but you’ve forgotten that we have brains, feelings, needs.

America needs you, Donald. Not because of who you are but because of who she is…at least, that is the general conception of most people who are currently thinking about voting for you.

If you want to win this election, you need to convince more Americans to be pro-Trump rather than just anti-Clinton. To do that, you need to do two things – listen to the people, Donald. Travel all around America and listen and secondly, shut up.

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: The Lingering Destruction of Gush Katif

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Twelve years…how could it be twelve years since that fateful, horrible summer when Israel acted unilaterally, stupidly, naively believing that if we made a grand gesture, peace would follow. No, to be honest, I really don’t buy the “naive” part. No one believed, even then, that peace would follow. As to why, knowing what would happen, did we do it? I can’t answer that.

With my husband and two friends, we ventured into the Jewish communities of Gaza in the wake of the forced expulsions. Our goal, our hope was probably naive. We thought that maybe we could save a synagogue, something precious from Gush Katif that would comfort the families, comfort us.

We went community by community. Our emotions were all over the place. Anger was there, pain, tears. We pushed on from community to community. My friend, Devra, wrote it down, place by place. I took pictures. Her words are here. Devra wrote about the stones I took from the synagogues. Here, Rachel Saperstein wrote about Paula’s Stones.

Of all the songs that I remember from that time, there was one that I knew, even then, was our unavoidable future if we evacuated, destroyed, erased those amazing communities. We did…and the song has come true. We live the nightmare this song so correctly predicted.

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: Separating the Sportsmen from the Children

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The Olympics are, for much of the world, an exciting opportunity to watch what can arguably be called the largest, most diverse and clearly most global competition that takes place just once every four years. For Israelis, the Olympics comes each time with tremendous emotional baggage. I was 12 years old when the Israelis went to Munich. I remember clearly being told that there had been a terror attack and Israelis were being held hostage.

From that moment, the sun stopped shining, the world stopped turning. My complete focus was on Munich…and then, the Olympic committee ordered the games to continue and I was torn between anger deeper than any I had ever felt and utter shock. How…how could they play games while men’s lives were in danger? My 12-year-old mind looked to the adults, begged them to explain how it was possible that the games would continue. Nothing had meaning; the essence of the Olympics – the values, all gone. The Olympics were supposed to be about bringing mankind closer together to share a commonality that crosses borders but once again, Israel was made to stand alone.

It was our team, our world, our Jews isolated, held hostage, and ultimately murdered and mutilated. Even that fact was kept from us for over 20 years. Mutilated. That’s what the Palestinian terrorists under the guidance of Mahmoud Abbas did. But we didn’t know that then. We held on to the desperate hope that somehow this would turn around.

And then word that the Germans had mounted a rescue…some rescue…I would learn later. Three of the hijackers survived and all of the hostages were murdered? You call that a rescue? The Olympics were never the same for me. I barely can watch them. For all of these forty plus years, even a moment of silence was denied to these men who had come ready to join what was supposed to be the ultimate symbol of hope and peace. Each time the games were held, we held our breaths. Just let them come home safely. That’s really all we want each time. A medal is nice, but please God, just let them be safe.

This year, I was happy to see that the Olympic committee had finally agreed to recognize the murdered Israelis and the opening ceremony was set to be a great event. Only the Lebanese children didn’t want to play nicely. They refused to allow the Israeli team to board the bus.

I’m proud of the Israeli team for refusing the Olympic committee’s attempt to divide the group and spread them among the other buses, and I’m baffled at what idiot thought to put the Lebanese and Israeli teams together in the first place. And when the Lebanese blocked the doors of the bus, why didn’t the Olympic committee members order them to get off the bus, load the Israelis on, and hand the Lebanese a map to the Stadium and tell them they should hurry or they would miss the ceremony.

Then, right after the Lebanese children escaped without being disciplines, a Saudi child refused to enter a judo competition because he was set to compete against an Israeli man. And again, the Olympic committee didn’t turn around and tell the Saudis to pack their bags and leave. The Olympics is not meant for spoiled brats. But no, nothing. Silence – as sickening and wrong as the silence that descended back in 1972 when people asked how the games could possibly go on. And now, a Syrian child has refused to enter the competition because he might have to shake the hand of the Israeli boxer. And again, why is the Syrian team told to make their way back to the airport and fly back to their peaceful home where more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed while much of the world does little to really stop the violence.

Once again, the Olympic committee chooses the path of silence and shame, as they did in 1972, as they did for 40 years, and now as they watch in silence as three Arab countries attempt to humiliate Israel. And the irony is that the only ones who should feel humiliated are the so-called athletes of these countries.

Since it is clear that these actions were part of the will of their teams, I am baffled as to why the Olympic committee is not automatically disqualifying these teams entirely from the competition.

The Olympic committee will have to explain why they allow politics to take front stage at the Olympics?

On the bright side, with each refusal, Israelis are becoming less angry and more amused. Ultimately, as I watched Israeli’s champion, Sagi Muki compete in the semi-finals, I saw a man, a sportsman and more, I saw grace, maturity, and respect as he entered the competition, and lost.

The Olympics really isn’t about winning or losing. It isn’t really about the medals. It is about coming together, putting aside the politics of nations and sharing what should be the love of competition, the fun of the sport. It is about the dignity of trying your hardest and showing that there is no shame in not winning because merely to get to the point of competing shows you are a champion.

Shame on the Lebanese, Saudi, and Syrian children who will, perhaps, one day grow up and hopefully recognize how utterly childish they were, there in front of all the world to see. Congratulations to the Israeli team for acting with dignity and self-respect, for making us all proud.

It really isn’t about how many medals you win or you don’t win; it’s how you enter the competition and how you leave it. Sagi, we are all proud of you…you are a champion simply for how you behaved and we in Israel salute you!


Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: From One Soldier’s Mother to Another

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

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

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

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

“Where does he serve?” she asked.

“Givati,,” I answered.

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: The Face of a Hypocrite

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

This is the face of a hypocrite.

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Stern

A Soldier’s Mother: Time to Admit this Great and Tragic Truth

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Last week, in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, two terrorists walked into a church and murdered an 84 year old Catholic priest. In the early morning hours, as the priest was conducting mass, they entered the church with the specific and clear intention to murder.

They violated the holiness, the sanctity of that holy place because…because…

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

This is Jacques Hamel.

Jacques Hamel.

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

This is Hadas Fogel.

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

And this is Hallel Yaffa Ariel.


She was just 13 and a half when she was murdered by an Islamic terrorist in a terror attack in Israel. She was in her bedroom, asleep when he entered her room and began stabbing her. She was a child on the brink of so much more when she was murdered in the name of hate and martyrdom and Allah. She was murdered in the name of intolerance. She was murdered because she was a Jew, an infidel. Yes, that’s right. This sleeping child is, according to Islam, a legitimate and honorable kill.

I keep wondering what level of violence will it take to shock the world into action. They have burned people, hanged them, decapitated them. They have stabbed, stoned, bombed, and shot people. They murdered a baby…baby Hadas, and many other babies across the globe. The murdered Hallel as she slept, and many other young girls and boys. And today, they murdered a priest in cold blood.

What will it take for the world to be able to say – without lowering their voices – this was the work of Islamic extremism? This was Islamic terror? All Muslims…no. No. NO.But today, and yesterday, last week and last month and last year and ten years ago and twenty. In Madrid, New York, Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Jerusalem, Brussels, Itamar, Nice, Kiryat Arba, Orlando, Normandy, Afula and on and on and on.

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

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

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



Paula Stern

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-soldiers-mother-time-to-admit-this-great-and-tragic-truth/2016/08/01/

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