Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow Day in Jerusalem

Took Jesse to the airport, where he flew away to America, land of hot and cold running comfort. Found the one and only Nesher "taxi" (a big cargo van which holds 10 people plus the driver) willing to go to Jerusalem in the snow. We drove behind a snow plow and a police car - literally the ONLY car on the icy road last night - until we climbed the hills ascending to the Holy City and saw....not "Jerusalem of Gold," but Jerusalem of White, all white, covered in a blanket of soft, falling snow. Then it HAILED on us as we were driving through Mea Shearim. The very few Hassidim who were in the streets (plastic covered Streimels and all) were hurrying home and being pelted by hail as well (just regular hail, not hail mixed with fire - although that kind should have been falling in Rehavia, at the residence of Prime Minister "Loser" Olmert). Finally the driver let me off at the Shuk, and I walked back to my apartment through the snow (normally a 5-minute walk, took me 15 minutes through wet and slush). Came home - no water, no heat. Everything frozen. Waiting for the plumber to come -again - and using a dust pan to shovel snow off of the porches.
Happy winter in Nachalot!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Waiting for Snow

Here I am practically cuddling with my "Neft" (kerosene) - filled radiator - my new best friend.
"Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but here it's so delightful - so since there's no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"
Either there will be snow or this is just another bogus weather report, like the alleged gigantic storm that never materialized in December. For all this bluster and blunder and very very cold wind and rain, we better get some of the photogenic white stuff out of it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Great Mabul of 5768

Pictured here are snapshots from the Great Mabul ("Flood") of Nachlaot, which began for the general public several weeks ago when temperatures plummeted below zero every night. Suddenly, in Nachlaot, which can easily be described as "funky / cool" (read: old and rickety but filled with really cool people) neighborhood, the Mabul was upon us. Not a street was spared. Pipes broke, "Dude Shemesh" (solar / electric rooftop water heaters) explosions were commonplace, and it hit home for me personally on 16 Shevat 5768 (last Wednesday) when water began oozing from where the floor meets the wall in the bathroom.
Over the next week every towel was used, over and over, hung out to dry in the not-too-far-above-freezing temperatures to mop up the water while my French realtors smoked and exchanged sarcastic barbs with plumbers, but nothing much got done.
Friday, Erev Shabbas, while cooking meals for Friday night and Saturday lunch for 16 people, the building's water supply was shut down, and only restored to partial capacity for Shabbat. During Shabbat no towels could be wrung out, and now not only are a dozen wet towels hanging on my clothesline but ... it's raining. In fact, it's been raining since Friday night. Every towel that hung out to dry is far wetter than it was before, and the skies are stormy today too.
*****Point of order: I do have a washing machine (Israeli style - 1 small load / 2 hours to wash) but don't have a dryer.
Right now, as the dry towel supply is exhausted, we're managing with these diaper-like shmatas (rags) and wringing them out by hand every 90 minutes.
* * * NOTE TO WORLD: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SPONGE MOP HERE IN ISRAEL. Some smart marketing person should be thinking about importing them and teaching Israelis about the concept of mops which automatically wring themselves out for you with just the flip of a we have in America.
We can even engrave on the handle: do not use on Shabbat.
Meanwhile, insurance people, lawyers, the building committee, my realtors and seemingly everyone else including the Jerusalem Municipality who controls water supplies are arguing with each other, in Hebrew. Chances are someone may put us in a hotel for the duration of the flood. I'm taking my cues from Noah on this one.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vote Now or Jerusalem Won't "Pass Go!"

Jerusalem Post:

The bitterly coveted Holy City of Jerusalem has known its share of wars and battles as it passed from one conqueror to another. But now, a different sort of feud is heating up involving scores of cities around the world.
Jerusalem is facing off against 67 other cities in what is being dubbed the clash of the 21st century. And, as befits the modern age, the battle is being fought on the Internet.
The makers of Monopoly are inviting fans worldwide to vote in an on-line contest that will determine which 22 cities will be etched in the collective memory for a new global edition of the 75-year-old board game.
The contest, which got under way this week and will continue through February 28, will allow Monopoly fans the world over to cast their ballots for the 10 best cities out of a pre-selected list of 68, including Jerusalem. The 20 cities with the highest number of votes will make it onto the new global Monopoly board. Two other cities, not on the ballot list, will be selected by a separate write-in vote.
The non-scientific poll to determine which cities pass go and collect global acclaim allows fans to vote every day of the monthlong contest at
The Talmud says that of the 10 measures of beauty descended upon the world, nine are found in Jerusalem. But as of Thursday, Paris, London and New York were in the top three spots.
Jerusalem was listed at 27, just behind Los Angeles (one of six US cities in the listing) and lagging behind another Middle East city, Cairo, at 17.
The top vote-winner will be awarded the exclusive Boardwalk position, while No. 2 will get Park Place in the new game, which will come out in August.
"Monopoly is the world's most popular board game and it transcends cultural barriers," said Helen Martin, global brand leader for the Monopoly brand.
More than 750 million people have played the game since it was first introduced nearly 75 years ago. It is now sold in more than 100 countries around the world, in 37 language versions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hamas Blasts Gaza-Egypt Border Wide Open

( Hundreds of thousands of PA Arabs crossed the Gaza-Egypt border Wednesday after masked Hamas men bombed the border fence in at least 15 locations. 350,000 crossed to Egypt, the United Nations says.
Almost the entire metal border fence has been torn down. Some of the Gazans crossed back into Gaza after buying gas, cigarettes and other supplies in the Egyptian side of the town of Rafiah, which straddles the border. Many, however, continued to el-Arish, where they will apparently stay as refugees. Egyptian and Hamas police stood aside as bulldozers arrived to complete the demolition of the wall.
Initial reports pointed to "unknown gunmen," but A-Shark Al-Awsat, a leading Arabic paper, says Hamas security forces were involved in the demolition.
Israel relinquished control of the Gaza-Egyptian border, known as the Philadelphi Route, following the 2005 Disengagement, at the urging of the US and with promises that European Union observers would monitor the border. Since then, it has stayed open for months at a time.
More than fifty women were wounded by Egyptian gunfire Tuesday as an all-female riot broke out on the Gaza side of the crossing and the women tried to break through to Egypt. The Egyptians began with water-cannons but shooting broke out eventually; it is unclear who shot first, the Egyptian police or the Hamas men circulating in the crowd.
Israel has backed down from placing a full blockade on Gaza, delivering butane gas for cooking and diesel fuel for Gaza’s power plant, as well as medicines. Despite the delivery, more than 20 rockets were fired at Israeli towns in the western Negev Tuesday.
Fatah in Gaza said it was behind the latest rocket-fire and declared it would continue to fire rockets at Israel. Fatah’s chief, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is the recipient of billions of dollars in pledges from the international community, as well as US efforts to fund and train his armed forces.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Holy Land or Banana Republic?

by Emanuel A. Winston,
a Middle East Analyst & Commentator

Regrettably, it has come to pass that over time the "kleina menchen" (small men) who purport to lead Israel have dropped the Jewish nation down to being a shtetle, or as is more commonly known, a "Banana Republic".

To observe an American President come to Israel and make political speeches advising the nation of Israel to keep Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in office is a vulgar display of arrogance.The "small men" like Olmert and his political followers groveled in a way exceeding all past displays of submission.

President George W. Bush came into the Jewish State, swinging the axe of a threatening Super Power. Telling the Israelis that they must obey his orders and return to the 1949-67 Armistice Lines is the height of arrogance.

After more than 60 years of unnecessary war and terror by the Muslim Arabs, this ignorant politician ignored that history, parroting the State Department language of two democratic states living side by side in peace. He said this even as Kassam Rockets were falling on Sderot and Ashkelon.

It is permissible to be ignorant but, not to shout out one’s ignorance at the top of his voice. This President and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both encouraged Israel’s former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and today’s PM Ehud Olmert to abandon 10,000 Jewish men, women and children from Gush Katif/Gaza and 4 Northern Samarian communities and surrender the Gaza. The Gaza Strip became the inevitable Global Terror base with tonnage of weapons - "homemade" Kassam Rockets, explosives, high tech arms and more Terrorists smuggled in from Egypt and the sea. The Kassam Rockets and mortars rain down on the southern communities every single day, giving the civilians 15 seconds to reach a concrete shelter. How would you like your children to live like that - every day, Mr. President and Ms. Rice?

The area evacuated by the 4 Northern Samarian communities enable the Terrorists to oversee and control access to Israel’s coastal plain with 70% of her population and industry. Now, under the direct orders of a sophomoric President, the center, the heartland, the ancient Jewish Holy religious sites are supposed to be given over to these same Muslim Terrorists so every centimeter of Israel can be in range of bigger, more accurate missiles.

The small-minded men and women, from Olmert on down to the Leftists who think they will be out of range along the coast, will bleat and moan as they cower in bomb shelters. Suddenly, the people, even the Leftists, will want to arrest and bring to trial the Kadimites and Labor Leftists - with hanging as a sentencing option - but by then it will be too late. They wanted the status of a Banana Republic, assuming others would somehow defend them and - when there was no defense, how they will cry. Some will suddenly find G-d and plead: "Why did You abandon us?"

Even Banana Republics, while glad to accept the money, at least retain their pride. When asked by their benefactors to roll over and grovel, they resist. But, Israel’s small-minded so-called leaders are not embarrassed to roll over, exposing their tender private parts - as long as they can stay in power and receive copious aid.Olmert is simply the latest of these flea-ridden leeches, willing to sell out their nation and her people for either personal gain or to fulfill their destiny of cowardice in the face of both their enemies and their so-called friends with deep pockets.

The message they convey is that "Israel has, indeed, become a Third World Banana Republic and, if the enemies and the world nations wish to own Israel, then they can have her. We didn’t really want her anyway. The State of Israel was too Jewish for us. We wanted to de-Judaize Israel but, it didn’t work. Too many Jews, real Jews, who wanted Israel to stand up for herself and be Jewish. Jews who wanted to build a Jewish State and come to live there - on the Land G-d gave us. To build a modern, Jewish State, with scientific discoveries and artistic creations to benefit mankind; to live in an ancient Jewish Land, following Jewish laws, raising Jewish children...being a 'Light Unto the Nations'. ""But, we really didn’t want it anyway." This is the message coming from the Government of Israel and the Jewish Media in Israel, America and Europe. "Sha-Sha; tone it down". Don’t speak about the naked leaders of Israel who strut about in high society as if they were robed in the finest of garments. Israel has become a zoo of grinning political primates whose leaders line up for photo-ops for the price of a banana. Have you ever seen Olmert with his arm hanging onto the shoulder of Bush and/or Rice, grinning like the man-child he really is? Notice the forced expressions of acceptance by Bush and Rice, who clearly wish that his offensive arm would shrivel and fall away from his shoulder. Remember: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand whither."

Of course, there are the good people in Israel, the majority, who love the Land and are comfortable within their skin as Jews. They definitely drift Right and, you will see them as pioneers in the Settlements, walking tall and proud. There are those in Tel Aviv and Haifa, etc., who are equally proud of their Jewishness and grateful for the Land but, not all. Then there are the large number of Leftists who hate the ground they walk on because it is imbued with Jewishness and they strive to distance themselves from their Jewishness.

There are those of us who are the "whistle-blowers" , the canaries in the mine, who speak out against those so-called leaders who have feet of dirty clay. We are not necessarily well-liked or appreciated because we "Shrei Gevalt" when we see our leaders bond with our enemies. Suddenly, editors and publishers get messages from Leftist friends, relatives to cease publishing exposés. Then calls come from Jewish organizational directors who themselves have received subtle or not so subtle messages from the State Department, friends of the Administration. Then calls come from Israeli government apparatchniks who complain about being researched and exposed in print to their nefarious activities. I recall how Shimon Peres as Foreign Minister issued an order to all government offices not to receive free issues of the Jerusalem Post because they published a host of exposés about him and the misuse of his position as Foreign Minister.

Whistle-blowers always take the heat. Today we observe Israeli Jewish leaders genuflect and grovel with a grin as an American President says "On my orders you must withdraw to the 1949/67 Armistice Lines as permanent borders." Where are the American Jewish organizations with their leaders, and the Jewish newspapers objecting to these high-handed "diktats" from a lame duck President? Are they cowering and spiking stories that say Israel cannot, should not listen to a President whose future is tied to oil-bearing Muslim Arab nations. He should have re-cused himself, not unlike a Judge who has personal interests in the outcome of a case before him.

Bush, his family, Baker, the multi-national oil companies - they are all tied to their prejudiced and vested interests in selling out the Jewish State of Israel. Where the hell is the Media? Where is the Jewish Press in Israel and America?

I know where we, the canaries in the mine, stand. We are compelled to shout and try to get the public to see what is obvious. I thank G-d for Christian Zionists who have no reluctance or fear to come to Israel’s aid and support. Their forceful presence shames the Jewish leaders, the Jewish Media because they are NOT fearful. Granted Jews have a justifiable fear that speaking up about it will increase anti-Semitism. They haven’t learned that silence also brings out anti-Semitism. The owners, publishers, editors of the Jewish media who "Tone Down" or eliminate those who "Shrei Gevalt!" - only exacerbate the assault against the Jewish State and Jews world-wide.

Blabbering about the "Peace Process" and the pursuit of peace - which never comes- is merely a false shield to avoid the guilt for not fighting back to defend ourselves and our people. Banana Republics have a way of simply being absorbed and thus they disappear.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Olmert's nose firmly lodged up President Bush's ass

The word on the street here in Jerusalem is that spectacularly unpopular, criminally implicated, desperate to hang on to power Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's nose has lodged so firmly up the ass of visiting U.S. President George W. Bush that emergency paramedics have been called to the scene.

Olmert's fawning and brown-nosing nauseated Israelis and New Olim from the United States as well. "Air Sickness" bags were distributed at every street corner, and were being used vigorously by all - from black hat Haredim to white kippah Religious Zionists, and everybody in-between.

Most over-used and meaningless word during the press conference: "VISION."

What vision? Whose vision? The ghastly nightmare vision of creating a terrorist state in the middle of the holy Land of Israel?

"Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he." - Proverbs 29:18"

Meanwhile, in yet another surrealistic moment, right this very moment on Al Jazeera's English language TV station, Noa Epstein from Peach Now is kvelling about how widespread and accepted the idea of a "Two-State Solution" has become in Israel and throughout the rest of the world. "The Wicked Son" principal in action.

Fortunately, none of this matters, as only Ha Kodesh Baruch Hu, Ribbono Shel Olam Himself has any real power here. Our part is to entreat and beseech Him for His grace, kindness and mercy. Let's escalate our prayers instead of our security alert levels, shall we?
Amen and amen!

George W. Bush: Bad for Traffic, Good for Poster Art

Walking home from a meeting I ran straight into George W. Bush's motorcade proceeding up Gaza Street to Agron and King George (pictured), on his way to the King David Hotel. At least 10,000 police stationed along the way tried to tell me I couldn't walk home this way, and yet...there I was, walking home. Immediately after the motorcade passed, activists raised the pictured poster art, a picture of GWB which reads: "Founding Father of Hamastine" (play on words for Hamas-run Palestine). The police had no interest in stopping the poster art guys and even helped them secure the gigantic graphic to the front of the building.

All over Jerusalem, political poster art abounds.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

George W. Bush : Accomplice to Terror or Ignorant Frat Boy? You be the Judge!

Israeli police are not thrilled about the concept of "Free Speech" when it comes from right-wing activists.
From the Jerusalem Post:
Six youths were arrested Monday night in Jerusalem as they were hanging anti-Bush posters ahead of the American president's visit.
The posters depict Bush, Olmert and Peres wearing Palestinian kaffiyehs, with a banner running "accomplices to terror".
The youths told police that they were paid to hang the posters by extreme right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir, of the National Jewish Front.
Ben Gvir admitted to having printed the posters, adding that he would continue to do so as it was perfectly within the limits of the law.
He also said police must learn that "free speech is not just for lefties."
Police were preparing Tuesday for a string of protests, by both left and right, during the US president's visit. Right-wing activists were expected to try and create a "human chain" around the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, while left-wing activists were planning to hold a protest in front of the American Consulate in Jerusalem.

What a Megilla! George W. Bush at Historic Crossroads!

American President George W. Bush is coming to Jerusalem tomorrow - and, in what can only be perceived as an historic moment of truly Biblical proportions - he is to be presented with "Megillat Bush," a scroll prepared by the leaders of Torah Judaism in which the opportunity for him to either bless or curse the Jewish People is laid out in no uncertain terms.

Will Bush be like King Cyrus of Persia, who is remembered for granting permission to the Jewish People to rebuild the Holy Temple? Or will he be remembered like King Nebuchadnezzer, who sacked Jerusalem and the Holy Temple and carried the Jews captive to Babylon?

Only HaShem, Master of the Universe, knows for sure.
Visit to learn more details about the scroll.

Text of the "Megillat Bush - The Bush Scroll" is as follows:

28 Tevet, 5768 / January 6, 2008
In the Name of the Lord, Eternal God

To The Honorable Mr. George W. Bush,President of the United States of America,
Who comes seeking the presence of the Most High God, to Jerusalem, city of God, Divinely chosen site of the Holy Temple, eternal capital of our land, "the joy of the entire earth (Psalms 48:3)," may it be rebuilt and established speedily and in our days, Amen!

Esteemed Mr. George W. Bush, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:1), leader of the west!
Upon your arrival in Jerusalem you have the ability to make a declaration, as did Cyrus, King of Persia - whose memory is honored - who in the year 538 BCE returned the exiled nations to their lands and recognized the full right of the Jewish people to reestablish their Holy Temple, the "house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:7), and called upon them to return to their land,
And in the manner of Lord James Balfour of England, who in 1917, called upon the Jews to reestablish a national homeland in the Land of Israel.
And thus if you truly desire peace and benevolence, and you would be counted in the company of the truly righteous, we call upon you to declare to all the world:
The Land of Israel was bequeathed to the nation of Israel by the Creator of the world. Neither could I, as a son of my faith, nor the Muslims according to their faith, ever take away even the slightest grain from the Eternal's gift, which He gave to His people Israel, the eternal people. Thus I call upon all the nations to save themselves from certain doom, to return and recognize That this land is the exclusive rightful inheritance of the people of Israel, as is written in the Torah of Israel, which constitutes the very foundation of our faith, as well as that of Islam; and is the basis for the decisions of the community of nations. He who denies this truth endangers all life on earth.
I shall dedicate all my strength and resources towards settling the Jewish people throughout their entire land. I shall greatly encourage and empower the Jews all over the world to rise up to the Land of Israel and to settle it, to establish God's sanctuary in Jerusalem, to distance strangers from it and thus, I believe, I will be making a major contribution towards world peace.
I cannot simultaneously support the establishment of a foreign state for an alien nation in the Land of Israel, and I will not lend my hand to this wrong.
Or - Heaven forbid - you can choose the second option - to willfully aid in the destruction, under the guise of peace!
You certainly know what the God of Israel did to Egypt and Assyria and to all Israel's enemies from time immemorial: Do you imagine that you will be able to save yourself if you have come to implement a plan that intends to steal the land of "the people that survived the sword" (Jeremiah 31:1), and to cut off those who survived the Holocaust, to rob the land that was given to them by the Creator?
All of the peace treaties and initiatives which have been based upon the decisions of the government of Israel, indeed the entire Oslo process, and the 'Disengagement,' and the establishment of a terrorist state within the Land of Israel known as 'Palestine' - regrettably, all of these agreements are the result of a lack of sufficient faith in the Divine promises that the Lord made to the patriarchs of our nation, and all that is written in the Torah of Israel. Understand this well: the nations of the world cannot excuse their actions and their decisions on account of the weakness of Israel and her government. God ordained that the role of the nations of the world is to strengthen the nation of Israel. This will benefit all humanity and bring about world peace, as the prophets have foretold.
Do you imagine you can escape from the struggles in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon, by offering up sacrifices of the Jews who are slaughtered daily by their enemies who speak of peace but live by the sword?
Upon your arrival in our land we would anticipate that you bring Jonathan Pollard home with you. Bring him home to Israel. He is an emissary of the State of Israel, and he acted on behalf of our people. Authorize his immediate release while you are yet in Jerusalem, before you return to the United States. This will be a positive step that will build confidence.
Remember our forefather Abraham, who pursued the world's four greatest kings in order to redeem his nephew from captivity. We cannot forget the deeds of our patriarchs, whose example guides us through every generation.
We are the loyal representatives of the Jewish people, the New Jewish Congress, and its court of law, the Sanhedrin, as well as the Temple and Temple Mount movements, but we merely reiterate herein what is public knowledge.
No government in Israel and no representative of the Jewish people has the power or right to alter, by even the slightest degree, our covenant with God and the words of our holy Torah, which are everlasting, as expressed by the prophets of Israel and even by the wicked prophet Balaam: "Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying: 'First among the nations was Amalek, but its end is to perish for ever' (Numbers 24:20). Thus any desire, plan or agreement that challenges the eternal sovereignty and active possession of the nation of Israel over her entire land is utterly worthless, and has no basis in reality.
Therefore it behooves you to declare: "I, George Bush, Commander in Chief of the armies of the United States of America, will instruct all of my troops to protect the Divine rights of the nation of Israel, and remove from her any threat."
Before you is a choice: You can merit to eternal life, or be inscribed for eternal disgrace. Your fate and that of all those with you hangs in the balance of the destiny of our land.
"and you shall choose life!" (Deut. 30:19).
In Sincere Supplication - In the name of the Jewish people
Rabbi A Even Yisrael SteinzaltzThe Sanhedrin
Dr. Gadi EshelThe New Jewish Congress
Rabbi Chaim RichmanThe Holy Temple and Temple Mount Movements