Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Everybody wants to rule the world"

Hamas: Islam Will Rule the World, Destroy Israel and the Jews
by Hana Levi Julian
( The Hamas terrorist organization is conducting a simultaneous battle against Israel and its coalition partner, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, but not without a “higher” purpose. According to the Palestinian Media Watch, the Hamas charter specifically mandates the murder of Jews in compliance with what it believes is Divine will. Violence and terror, which Hamas refers to as “resistance”, are considered legitimate tools to be used for this purpose.

Hamas has worked hard to promote this ideology and to train the current and future generations toward this end, using a Mickey Mouse-like character to teach the precepts to PA Arab children and other TV and radio programs to reach the adults. The PA population has, for the most part, responded enthusiastically to this campaign. Others who are frightened by the fanaticism and culture of murder are doing their best to flee. Branch offices of foreign ministries from various Arab countries report they have been besieged with tens of thousands of applications by PA Arabs who are desperate to take their families out of the madness. Islamic clerics, meanwhile, exhort them to remain, resorting even to religious legal rulings that it is forbidden to leave the Palestinian Authority territories and abandon what they insist is their land.

It is clear that Hamas has no intention of ever recognizing the State of Israel’s right to exist. Nor does it intend to end its terrorism, regardless of international mandates to do so. “We will liberate Palestine, all of Palestine... Palestine will not be liberated by negotiations, committees and decisions. It will only be liberated by the rifle and the al-Kassam [rocket -ed.]. Therefore, prepare yourselves,” declared Hamas spokesman Dr. Ismail Radwan in an April interview with the Hamas-controlled Al-Risalah newspaper. Ultimately, states former Foreign Minister and Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar in a March interview with the Arabic Al-Ayyam newspaper, “Our position is the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine. This is the final and strategic solution for us……Anyone who denies it must check his faith and his Islam.” To view the entire report on the Palestinian Media Watch website, click here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Saudis Arrest Christian for entering Mecca

Just in case for even one crazy minute anyone out there buys the fictional idea that Islam tolerates the presence of other religions:

From today's Jerusalem Post:
Saudi officials have arrested a man in Mecca for being a Christian, saying that the city, which Muslims consider to be holy, is off-limits to non-Muslims.
Nirosh Kamanda, a Sri Lankan Christian, was detained by the Saudi Expatriates Monitoring Committee last week after he started to sell goods outside Mecca's Great Mosque.
After running his fingerprints through a new security system, Saudi police discovered that he was a Christian who had arrived in the country six months earlier to take a job as a truck driver in the city of Dammam. Kamanda had subsequently left his place of work and moved to Mecca.
"The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals," he said.
Similar restrictions apply to the Saudi city of Medina. In a section entitled, "Traveler's Information," the Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington states that, "Mecca and Medina hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry."
Highway signs at the entrance to Mecca also direct non-Muslims away from the city's environs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shavuot, Sleep Deprivation, Dairy & Me

Shavout 5767, Jerusalem:

Receiving the Torah all over again for the first time, this time as a resident of Jerusalem and not a tourist on a short schedule. Erev Shavuot, Tuesday night began with services at Kol Rina, the Carlebach Shul that meets in a bomb shelter in Nachalot. Hundreds (if not thousands) of Shiurim on every conceivable variety of Torah topics were offered all over the City, beginning after dinner and going until dawn. On Shavuot the tradition is to stay up all night learning Torah, to prepare to receive the Torah anew from Sinai on Shavuot morning (Wednesday).

The best Shiur I heard was about the relationship Rav Kook, Israel's first Chief Rabbi and author of "Orot," had with writers and other creative individuals. Aside from being a genius and the spiritual father of the Religious Zionist movement, Rav Kook was a writer, a poet and kept private notebooks, of which he says (and I paraphrase): the act of keeping a journal or private notebook is like writing your own Torah, as journaling is a spiritual exercise between the writer, the Lord and his creative spirit.

Imagine the surprise of the Children of Israel upon receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai and finding within it themselves - the story of their lives. Rav Kook says the Torah is missing one piece - YOUR story, and writing as an art form is like inserting the story of YOUR life into the Torah itself.

Another Shavuot tradition is to eat dairy foods during the holiday. Ice cream, cheese cake, blintzes, all manner of cheeses - Israelis spent 35 million NIS on dairy foods this Shavuot, according to the Jerusalem Post. I know I did my part!

I heard the Book of Ruth read as well as the 10 Commandments in Shul. "We will do and we will hear," we said at Sinai as we accepted the Torah. May we indeed do, and may we truly hear, may we grow and may we give the best part of ourselves to each other and to the Lord.

This picture of me was taken by my son Cameron this Shavuot afternoon (Wednesday May 23rd, 2007 / 6 Sivan 5767) after pulling the all-nighter and then preparing a dairy lunch for everyone. I'm completely sleep deprived, deliriously happy to have received the Torah all over again and feeling like a really snuggly born-again baby, satisfied with being fed the pure "milk" of G_d's Word. Yum, yawn... yeah.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerusalem Day 2007 - 40 Years of Reunification

The day began cool and cloudy, and by mid-morning sprinkles were turning into showers. After lunch it started to seriously rain, the geshem gushed from blackened skies while thunder and lightening erupted all over the city for several hours.

By late afternoon the skies had cleared and hundreds of thousands of Israelis crowded into the streets of Downtown Jerusalem, singing and dancing and moving very, very, very slowly towards the Old City. The goal: get to the Kotel without getting trampled or out of sorts while trying not to suffocate in a crowd of enthusiastic patriots, many of them carrying rifles.

It is a documented and undisputed fact that G_d Himself is personally involved in the weather of Israel specifically, and Jerusalem in particular.

His choice of a dramatic pre-Mincha thunderstorm may have been to cleanse the air and thouroughly purify it, as it is said in the Talmud:
"The air of Eretz Yisrael causes wisdom," - Bara Batra, 158B

This year on Jerusalem Day we celebrate 40 years since East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and much of Biblical Judea and Samaria as well as the Sinai and the Golan Heights were liberated from Arab control by the Israeli Army during the June 1967 "6-Day War." No one disputes the war was won miraculously. May all Jews everywhere and all of Israel partake of the wisdom that the air of Eretz Yisrael causes, and may we use that wisdom to usher in an era of strong and righteous leadership in this country and the world - Amen!

Whassup in da hood?

Among other things going on in my neighborhood today, Jerusalem Day, is a massive strike and demonstration in front of the Prime Minister's House (inconveniently located up the street from where I live) by Israeli college students, who have paralyzed the national institutes of higher education for the last 30-something days over various issues, most importantly, the cost of tuition. Now if the Israeli public would turn out en masse this way in front of Olmert's house and demand his resignation, maybe something productive would happen.

The Return of the Amy-I

To complete the circle, I went to the airport in Tel Aviv this morning to pick up AMY Wachtel, now safely arrived for a "spontenious" 3-week Tyule ("field trip") here in the Holy Land. Amy came to Long Beach to help me through the very last days of my last days before Aliyah, and now here she is just in time for Yom Yerushalyem and Shavout, coming up next week!
To Amy's credit she did emerge from the plane looking lovely in spite of feeling ... "icksah"... from 11 long hours with the El Al crew and several hundred other travelers, not all of whom maintain the stringent personal hygene standards one would hope should be standard for all travelers in close quarters.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cameron Kude comes to Israel!

Cameron Kude - age 20, youngest of my four children, became the FIRST family member to come to Israel for a visit! Cameron arrived in early May and plans to stay until mid-June, soaking up the Israeli vibes and checking out his Mother's new and improved lifestyle and environment.Cameron officially becomes the first visitor but thank G_d not the last. Lifelong best friend and unindicted co-conspirator Amy Wachtel is on her way, due to arrive tomorrow - just in time to join 100,000 other people who are decending / ascending upon Jerusalem within the next 24 hours to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem.Somehow all of us are going to miraculously fit into my small one-bedroom apartment. No, not all 100,000 of us, just Cameron, Amy and myself. A bed, a couch, an air mattress. It's Jerusalem. Everyone gets a place to sleep.RE: VISITING ISRAEL: COULD YOU BE NEXT? El Al flies direct from LAX now. Frequently a round-trip ticket can be had (with good planning and a cooperative El Al sales agent) for under $1500. THINK ABOUT IT!

"Twas the Night Before Jerusalem Day..."

Tonight is Erev Yom Yerushalyem (the night before Jerusalem Day). I was downtown with Cameron - my 20 year-old son who is visiting me here in Israel - and we got caught in a parade featuring a long lineup of...TRACTORS. It was like the tractor drivers unions from across the country and it's possible they may have been in the parade because it was those tractors that mowed down Arab buildings in the Old City and East Jerusalem when the Hand of G_d moved to deliver Jerusalem into Jewish hands 40 years ago today.
And that's what we're celebrating today - an open miracle, the re-unification of Jerusalem, the Eternal Capitol of the Jewish People. G_d literally unleashed His Heavenly Host to deliver the land to us.
And what have we done for HIM lately?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jihadist Mickey Mouse Entertains Palestinian Children

A weekly children's show on a Hamas-run TV station, featuring a Mickey Mouse lookalike preaching Islamic domination, was broadcast as usual Friday, despite an earlier announcement by the Palestinian information minister that it would be pulled off the air for a review.
The show features a giant black-and-white Mickey Mouse-like character, called "farfour," or butterfly in Arabic. The program made headlines worldwide because the character has preached against Israel and the US and praised armed resistance.
Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, shares power in the Palestinian government with the moderate Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti, an independent, said Wednesday that the show reflects a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle for independence and would be suspended immediately, to allow for a review.
On Friday, Barghouti would only say the station had promised to correct any problems.
The station's manager, Hazem al-Sharawi, said the show has an educational message and will not be canceled.
Israeli officials have denounced the program, called "Tomorrow's Pioneers," as incendiary and outrageous.
On Friday, the lead character said he cheated in his exams because "the Jews destroyed my house," and he lost his books under the rubble. Children called in telling him his behavior was un-Islamic.
Also during the show, the adult presenter and the station manager, al-Sharawi, told viewers that once Islam rules, its message of "good and peace" will also rule.
"We don't incite. We present facts. We can't cut off our children from the reality they live everyday," said al-Sharawi. He said he repeated the words love and peace six times during the show.
"We have an educational and entertainment message. It carries knowledge, a sense of humor and morality. There is no shame in this, and we will not go back on it," he said.
Barghouti said Friday he has no control over private stations, but has asked the station to review the content. If there are still violations, "we will continue to work with them."

Monday, May 7, 2007

Truth and Consequences

A wort attributed to the Yehudi Hakadosh as well as the Kotzker Rebbe states that while Vayikra 19:11 commands all Jews not to lie to one another, a hassid is someone who will not lie even to himself.
Or, to paraphrase the most famous line from the Vice-Presidential Debates of the 1988 election: Mr. Olmert, I know hassidim, hassidim are friends of mine, and you're no hassid!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Tell Olmert: Get Out!

"Tell Olmert: Get Out!" is the message, being delivered by about two dozen students who WALKED from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and are camping out on the sidewalk in front of Prime Minister Olmert's residence, which happens to be right up the street from where I live. They're living on the sidewalk, sleeping in tents they set up in front of the retaining wall which guards protect Olmert, whose failure of leadership is a well-known fact within Israel. Now that the Winograd Report detailing the extent of his incompetence has been released to the public, it's also a well-known fact to the rest of the world.
The students are very polite and well-behaved. They came on Friday afternoon and spread out their blankets, tents, folding tables and sleeping bags, and commenced to make Shabbat right there on the sidewalk, complete with candles, wine and kiddush. They have no plans to leave until Olmert resigns. Tonight (Sunday night) they're still there, but so are two large armoured police vans, perhaps waiting for the order to clear the streets. Meanwhile, regular Israelis just walking through the neighborhood are all stopping to talk, argue, sign the petition, and argue again - but in the end, there seems to be a sense of resignation, as if to say: what can we do?
Well, what CAN we do? What these young University students have done: take action. Get out there. Sit on the sidewalk. Attract attention to the issue just by their presence - do something, anything, just to let the Government know: we think you stink! Get Out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Emptying God's Mailbox

Everyone knows where "God's Mailbox" is - that would be the Kotel, where thousands of tiny pieces of paper, each scrawled with prayer requests, are shoved between the cracks of the enormous stones that make up the Western "Wailing" Wall every single day.

Here you see workers removing all of "God's mail," and be comforted by the fact that none of the thousands of notes are destroyed, but all are taken out and buried in Jerusalem's sacred ground.

"HaShem, incline Your ear, answer me, for I am poor and destitute. Guard my soul, for I am devoted to You; save Your servant who trusts in You, O You, my God. Show me favor O my Lord, for to You do I call all the time. Gladden the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lorrd, my soul I lift up. For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving; and abundantly kind to all who call upon You. Listen HaShem to my prayer, and heed the sound of my supplications. On the day of my distress I call upon You, for You will answer me" - Psalm 86:1-7