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August 25, 2016 / 21 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Time’

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.

hallel

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?

GOOD!

 

Paula Stern

A Time To Cry

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Even before the day began, it was obvious that it was a day designated for tears. In fact, this year it was doubly so. And, all modesty aside, I have to admit that I was (embarrassingly) up to the task.

First I read a few excellent articles, and sobbed aloud. I watched several heart-rending videos, and likewise went through wads of tissues. And then, when the wail of the two-minute siren sounded at 11 a.m., I stood, choked out a number of pirkei Tehillim, and cried rivers of tears.

That, unfortunately, was merely the warm-up exercise.

Aside from being Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s annual Memorial Day commemorating the tragic loss of tens of thousands of soldiers, police, and victims of terror, this year it also marked 12 months since my beloved father left this world.

After countless phone calls back and forth, we had finally chosen the most convenient time of day for the children and grandchildren to meet in Yerushalayim, en route to Tatty’s kever on Har Hazeitim: 2:30 p.m. That would enable the men to leave during bein hasedarim in their respective yeshivas and kollelim, thereby missing the minimal possible actual learning time. It would also allow us to daven and say Tehillim with our minyan at Tatty’s gravesite and still make the return trip well before our none-too-friendly “cousins” returned from work, eager to begin their other activities of literally and figuratively terrorizing the Jews of the Old City.

Although Har Hazeitim is traditionally considered one of the holy sites in Judaism, it’s also undeniably a hotbed of violence and vandalism, and consequently one of the most dangerous venues in all of Israel. So much so that it is virtually unthinkable to venture there without an armed escort at any time, all the more so on a day like Yom Hazikaron, when the locals are especially trigger-happy and itching to make trouble.

So, aside from organizing a 15 passenger “tender” to transport our group, my brother had to coordinate a livui to accompany us to the kever and return us safely out of harm’s way. Sadly, that was easier said than done.

Multiple phone calls and entreaties later, our 2:30 p.m. chosen time slot was unceremoniously stricken from the proposed schedule, and the round of consultations resumed once more.

“We can reserve an armed escort for either 1:30 or 3:30,” my brother explained to each of us in turn. “There is nothing available at 2:30.”

Needless to say, we were all disappointed by the turn of events, but we unanimously opted for the earlier choice, preferring to be safely out of the area well before 4 p.m., when the local population of trouble makers was due to return home and commence their mischief-making once more.

The moked approved the 1:30 escort, but warned my brother that if our party was delayed for more than 15 minutes, they would not wait for us. Fair enough. We assured them that that would not present an issue.

Our own mini kibbutz galuyot therefore began at around noon, with over a dozen individuals resolutely departing their respective places of employment and institutions of learning, and heading to the designated rendezvous locations. Even my notoriously late immediate family members rose to the occasion, and defied their very natures in order to show our beloved patriarch the kavod he so richly deserved.

However, the reality of “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” resurfaced to haunt and taunt us yet again. Yom Hazikaron traffic was far heavier than on a normal day, and the tender practically crawled through the streets of Yerushalayim on its way to Har Hazeitim.

My husband, one of our sons and I drove in our own car from outside the city, but were eventually informed by our trusty Waze that we would be well-advised to walk the final 20 minutes or so to our destination, rather than navigate the clogged streets on wheels. So we parked in the municipal parking lot by Har Tzion, and hurried over the cobblestone sidewalks, me sliding precariously in my ubiquitous clogs, while they half-carried me to save precious time.

Our youngest son, whose yeshiva is situated in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, had already traversed this same route some 20 minutes earlier, and was now the first to arrive at the overlook of Yad Avshalom where we had instructed him to meet us.

Another son and his wife had made the long trek from their apartment in Elkana, and had met the tender at the designated first stop, along with a dozen other relatives. They continued to painstakingly make their way to the narrow street leading up to Har Hazeitim, while we, shockingly, preceded them by ten minutes or more. A quick glance up the steep street confirmed that, although there were quite a few of our Arab cousins in sight, there was no sign of our armed escort.

Unfortunately, when the rest of our contingent arrived nearly 15 minutes late, a frantic call to the moked informed us that our livui had already left. All our entreaties and heartfelt pleas fell on deaf ears, and we ultimately had no choice but to continue on our own.

As it turned out, that was the (relatively) good news. The tender that was taking us up that narrow, dangerous mountain road, arguably one of the most treacherous, in more ways than one, in all of the holy city, was a poor excuse for a van if ever there was one. No air conditioning, despite the high temperatures, ancient and decrepit looking both inside and out, it brought to mind vivid childhood memories of The Little Engine That Could. Except that, in this case, it seemingly could not!

Despite the driver’s repeated attempts to gun the engine, and make it up to the kever, the tired motor stalled time and time again. The cars and vans behind and alongside us honked loudly and often. It was hard enough to accommodate two-way traffic on a good day; this situation defied belief and tolerance.

Finally, the driver conceded defeat and found a place to turn his hapless vehicle around and descend the mountain to where we had begun. He pulled into a sorry-looking gas station, and opened the hood, as smoke poured forth into the hot Jerusalem sky. Then he began a series of frenzied phone calls to other van companies, in a desperate attempt to find us alternate means of transportation.

We passengers were hot, tired, and nervous. But we recognized that it could have conceivably been infinitely worse. If, G-d forbid, the engine trouble had begun when we were higher up the mountain, we could have chas veshalom been the proverbial “sitting ducks,” helpless in the face of rock-throwing attacks – or worse.

So although we were far from happy about the unfortunate situation, we made the best of the prolonged delay, davening Mincha with our family minyan, and individually learning Mishnayos and/or reciting Tehillim l’iluy nishmat our beloved Tatty.

Finally, after what seemed eons, our driver managed to locate a van in Ramot; the driver promised to come to our rescue as soon as he could. In the meantime, my brother had a light bulb moment, and decided to call the moked again, this time to request the 3:30 escort.

“You have to arrange for an escort at least 24 hours in advance, “ he was told, despite his impassioned protestations. So it looked like we were on our own once again.

The new van (in more ways than one) arrived at long last, and our weary band of travellers piled in to continue the journey begun hours earlier.

This time, the ascent was, b”H, relatively easy, and we made it to the kever without incident. We unhurriedly poured our hearts out in fervent prayer and shed a fair amount of tears, kissed the tombstone, placed our traditional small rock markers, and returned to the van for the trek down the mountain. A glance at my watch showed precisely 3:59 p.m.

My brother gave voice to what many of us had been thinking, “Baruch Hashem, Tatty was looking out for us. This could have chas veshalom ended quite differently.”

And as the driver dropped us off at our various stops along the way, we could not help but feel a sensation of warmth totally removed from the punishing outside temperatures. Every one of us, both individually and collectively, felt a double fatherly embrace on this day of double sorrow and introspection: the love of our recently departed earthly father, coupled with the protective hug of our Father in Heaven.

L’iluy nishmat avi mori, Harav Binyamin ben Yisrael Menachem. Yehi zichro baruch.

Naomi Gross

El Al Ranked Last in On Time Performance

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

FlightStats, a leading provider of real-time global flight data to companies and individuals across the “travel ecosystem” has issued its June 2016 on-time arrival performance report for major airlines, ranking 40 international companies, in which El Al came in 4oth.

With 2,667 flights in June, only 35.88% of El Al’s flights landed on time, while 64.12% arrived late, and the average delay for those tardy birds was 48.3 minutes.

Japan Airlines, which ranked first, had 22,218 flights, 91.05% of which came in when promised, only 8.95% were late, with an average delay time of 32.5 minutes.

Fort comparison, Ethiopian Airlines, with 7,135 flights in June, ranked 29th, with 71.71% of its flights landing on schedule.

Surprisingly, Delta Airlines, with 166,790 flights in JUne, ranked in 8th place, with 82.92% of its flights arriving on time.

An El Al representative told Ynet that its pilots are to blame, since they are executing labor sanctions that mess with the company’s schedule causing those delays. But a review of El Al’s performance over a longer stretch of time reveals that it has been ranked way back there for many months, including a stint in last place in September.

David Israel

Elie Wiesel Remembered As ‘One Of The Great Moral Voices Of Our Time’

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Author, human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel died on Saturday at the age of 87.

Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, is well known for Night, the book that tells the story of his family’s experience during the Holocaust. The book became the first work in a trilogy along with Dawn and Day. Wiesel wrote more than 40 other works of nonfiction and fiction.

Wiesel, who was 15 when he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, was also known for working to help find Nazi war criminals in the years following World War II.

A journalist for various publications, he campaigned for the immigration of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel and didn’t hesitate to criticize American presidents – Reagan in 1985 for his insistence on visiting a German cemetery that contained the graves of Nazi soldiers and Obama in 2015 for the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In addition to his seminal role in Holocaust remembrance, Wiesel served on the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, the 1990s genocide in Yugoslavia, and other human rights violations around the world.

Wiesel, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “gave expression through his exceptional personality, and fascinating books about the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil. In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters – six million – were murdered, Elie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man.”

“I was privileged to know Elie and to learn so much from him,” Netanyahu said.

President Obama called Wiesel “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world.” The president noted that “Like millions of admirers, I first came to know Elie through his account of the horror he endured during the Holocaust simply because he was Jewish. But I was also honored and deeply humbled to call him a dear friend. I’m especially grateful for all the moments we shared and our talks together, which ranged from the meaning of friendship to our shared commitment to the state of Israel.”

Obama recalled a visit he and Wiesel made to the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp: “After we walked together among the barbed wire and guard towers of Buchenwald, where he was held as a teenager and where his father perished, Elie spoke words I’ve never forgotten – ‘Memory has become a sacred duty of all people of goodwill.’ Upholding that sacred duty was the purpose of Elie’s life. Along with his beloved wife Marion and the foundation that bears his name, he raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms. He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of ‘never again.’ ”

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat, who gave Wiesel the medal of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem earlier this year, said: “Instead of giving in to despair, to the face of evil and cruelty that at the time was the darkest of humanity, he carried all the way through the message of tolerance and peace for all peoples of the world.”

Wiesel was born in in Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), in the Carpathian Mountains, on September 30, 1928. Wiesel’s mother, Sarah, was the daughter of a Vizhnitz chassid. His father, Shlomo, encouraged him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, while his mother encouraged him to study Torah. Wiesel had three siblings – older sisters Beatrice and Hilda, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to Canada. Tzipora, Shlomo, and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

Combined News Services

It’s About Time: Government Trust Fund for Every Israeli Child

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

For the first time in the history of the state, starting January 1, 2017, every Israeli child below the age of 18 will receive a trust fund in which the National Insurance Administration (Israel’s Social Security) will be making monthly deposits. Parents will be able to select an alternative financial institution for their child and be allowed to invest in the fund from the government child allowance.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the new trust fund for every child will go a long way to “narrow the social gaps in Israel, and promote equal opportunities for middle class and the weaker sectors, as well as raise awareness about saving.”

As it was laid out on Tuesday, the plan will allow an 18-year-old Israeli who has been enrolled all his life to embark on his adulthood with about $5,000. The trust fund plan is based on National Insurance making $14 monthly deposits in the funds. The hope is that with interest and added investments the fund would yield an even higher amount, enough to carry the young person through college, help start a small business or make any other worthwhile investment.

If the young Israeli opts to delay withdrawing the funds until he or she turns 21, National Insurance will add a 500 shekel bonus ($180) to the account at that point and the government would pay all the fees on the fund.

The obvious problem is that $5,000, which will be pulled out of the war on poverty budgets, is not a lot of money, and the future may be paved with Israeli young adult driving cheap cars or going on that incredible trip to India or the Amazon forest, rather than using the money for its intended purpose.

It would have been much more meaningful had government invested those $5,000 in the fund up front, which at 2% would yield more than $7,000, an end amount that could be boosted by the parents and the child over the years. With only $14 monthly deposits by the parents, the fund would be doubled by the end of the 18-year term.

But to do that, with about 200,000 babies born annually, Israel would have to divert about $1 billion from its budget to those funds. Not an impossible figure for a country with a $300 billion annual GDP. The upside would be a population that’s more serious about saving and investing, and young people who have a stake in the stability of the system. Those would include young Israeli Arab, by the way.

David Israel

Time to Dismantle BDS-Hamas Linkages

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

It is heartening to learn the American Anthropological Association (AAA) has voted against a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.( http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=14768). It has commendably done so in the largest membership turnout of 51 per cent in its history.  I am particularly happy as only the other day I happened to co-author with famous British political scientist Raphael Cohen Almagor an article in a leading Indian newspaper (http://www.pressreader.com/india/the-sunday-guardian/20160605/281934542210825)  arguing there was no justification for a professional association to ban Israel. Any such decision would be unjust, unfair, and counter-productive.

We have asserted in the article the resolution amounts to the worst form of academic freedom denial designed to ban all schools of thought flowing out of Israel, a nation that has throughout history rendered somewhat unparalleled contribution to the development of knowledge in almost every field of human life . Whoever wishes to boycott Israel undercuts academic freedom and betrays values we all hold dear: Freedom of expression, tolerance, equality, justice and peace. A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to the core principles of academic freedom and is antithetical to free exchange of ideas.

I hope this vote against the BDS resolution would help AAA advance  the cause it is believed to be committed to—“advancing scholarly knowledge, finding solutions to human and social problems, giving voice to the underserved.” (http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/NewsDetail.aspx?ItemNumber=14768). AAA must raise critical awareness of the dynamics of peace and conflict in the region, highlight the  sufferings of all its peoples—Israelis and Palestinians– and expand the space of dialogue for their appropriate solutions.

I would, however , caution AAA against developing any complacency on this issue. The strength of those in favour of the resolution in AAA was not negligible . It was rather substantial . Among the AAA eligible voters while 2,423 persons opposed the resolution,  2,384 voted to support it.  The backers of the resolution might invent ways to assert themselves in future.

AAA must see to it that the atmosphere created by the BDS resolution does not revisit and lead to any ugly incident in future. Reports are that in the recent past at San Francisco State University (SFSU) BDS supporters disrupted a speech by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. In another incident a BDS supporter publicly insulted former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and American diplomat Dennis Ross at Harvard Law School.  In early April this year Harvard law student Husam El-Qoulaq asked Livni at a public conference : “How is it that you are so smelly?  It’s regarding your odor—about the odor of Tzipi Livni, very smelly.”( http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-anti-israel-money-trail-1461624250).

I would also suggest  the larger American society must keep vigilance over anti-Semitism elements at home. There is a strong evidence of linkages between the BDS leadership and Hamas financiers . In his  recent testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittees on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and on the Middle East and North Africa , researcher  Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has revealed  leaders of organizations linked to Hamas have “gravitated to a new organization called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)”. The AMP is “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign in campuses in the United States.”

(http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20160419/104817/HHRG-114-FA18-Wstate-SchanzerJ-20160419.pdf). Schanzer has added  “at least seven individuals who work for or on behalf of AMP have worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas: the Holy Land Foundation [HLF], the Islamic Association for Palestine [IAF], and Kind Hearts.”
Recently, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens, too, has written on the links between BDS leadership and Hamas financiers. He has said , “SJP’s self-declared goal is to end Israel’s ‘occupation and colonization of all Arab lands’ while ‘promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.’ That’s another way of saying destroying the Jewish state.” (http://www.theisraelproject.org/award-winning-columnist-highlights-ties-between-bds-movement-and-hamas-financiers/)

All such BDS-Hamas  linkages have to be dismantled . It is good that members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both parties have demonstrated their commitment to confront growing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment on college campuses. In its recent letter to  U.S. Education Secretary John King (http://teddeutch.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2016.4.18_bipartisan_task_force_for_combating_anti-semitism_-_letter_to_department_of_education.pdf),  the congressional Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism has asked what his department has been doing about these issues. The signatories to this letter said “anti-Semitic intimidation, harassment, and discrimination are manifested not only in easily recognizable anti-Semitic slurs but also in anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment.” The taskforce expressed its alarm about the growth of anti-Israel programs and BDS campaigns on campuses.

And yes, let’s applaud New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo . He has signed an executive order directing divestment of public funds supporting any BDS campaign against Israel. ( https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-first-nation-executive-order-directing-divestment-public-funds-supporting ).

Jagdish N. Singh

Naomi Returns To Bethlehem; Last Time Jew Does So Without Military Escort

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

{Originally posted to the humor website PreOccupied Territory)

Bethlehem, Judah, June 7 – The widow of the late tribal leader Elimelech came back to her hometown today after ten years in the land of Moab, marking the final time for about three millennia that a Jew will enter the city without need of an armed escort, local sources are reporting.

Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth, also widowed from Naomi’s son Mahlon, returned to Bethlehem this morning now that the famine that drove her and Elimelech away has subsided, and hunger no longer hovers over the land. The pair entered the town by themselves, causing a stir, both because the people were shocked to see how Naomi had aged and that they were witnessing the last time a Jew would be able to enter Bethlehem safely not in the company of several men carrying weapons to fend off Arab attackers, at least for three thousand years.

“Is that Naomi?” the townspeople were heard to exclaim, surmising that the withered old woman, once so vigorous and youthful, had decided to come back into the town while it was still possible to do so unaccompanied by soldiers. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded, according to witnesses.

“Call me embittered, for the LORD has made it exceedingly bitter for me,” presumably referring to her dire economic circumstances and the fact that for many centuries hence, a Jew would need serious protection upon entering her beloved hometown, lest he or she be attacked by hate-filled Palestinians bent on making Bethlehem judenrein again.

“She doesn’t look too good, she and that Moabite woman,” said a bystander who asked to remain nameless, but who described himself as a relative. “They’re going to have a tough time of it now. I imagine they’ll have to sell some of the family’s ancestral holdings, which will eventually be taken over by Arabs as if it had always been theirs, and then those Arabs will resort to violence to keep Jews from reestablishing their presence here. Also, that daughter-in-law of hers is from Moab, and that’s not such a popular thing around here. At least not with me.”

Other observers had a more favorable assessment. “That takes guts, coming back here under such embarrassing circumstances,” said an elder named Boaz. “I imagine that many, many years from now, the descendants of these fine women will similarly disregard the physical dangers of reestablishing their presence in their ancestral homeland. Of course, it can’t hurt to to have a few strong youths, like my field hands, for protection.”

PreOccupied Territory

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/preoccupied-territory-blogs/naomi-returns-to-bethlehem-last-time-jew-does-so-without-military-escort/2016/06/09/

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