Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Here's What I Did on Tuesday...
One hour away from us, there are thousands of Jews under enemy rocket fire. And we worry about.... what?
I experienced what it means to be in Sderot when a Kassam hits and I saw some of the destruction. I visited with an older lady and her neighbor and heard their stories from the front - the front yard, that is: you see, a Palestinian Authority rocket struck the yard in front of their building last week.
When the "Color Red" alert was sounded, we took refuge in Shoshana's dining room. There was a span of 10 seconds - who had time to get to a bomb shelter? - then the rocket slammed into the city. It sounded as if the city itself should have shook, but we only heard the very loud impact. Then the ambulances....
I got a haircut, ate a shwarma, bought some basic supplies for volunteers to distribute, and brought some food to a lady unable or unwilling to venture out to the market.
I left feeling that we had done something - something small, but at least we had not allowed Sderot to remain "over there" and "someone else's problem" in our own minds and for all with whom we share this story.
Mostly, however, I admit I felt anger - at the enemy, of course, but also at a government that allows its people to live under artillery fire for SIX YEARS and does not put an end to it.
I felt frustration, knowing that the same roads we drove on to get to Sderot were plastered with bitter posters saying "Prepare for the coming of the Kassam" in the months leading up to the expulsion of the Jewish towns in Gush Katif. And, like night follows day, the number of Kassams on the western Negev tripled in 2006.
See and read more about our Modiin=Sderot trip in the form of news at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122586 and here http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/122582
For those of you who live in Israel - organize your own such "soldiarity shopping convoy" to Sderot. And tell me and the media about it.
For those of you who live overseas, how about arranging a fund to help those who do make the trip down south to purchase supplies and support local Sderot businesses?
Friday, May 25, 2007
Star Trek, Noah and Ismail Haniyeh
But the force field that the IDF spokesperson granted to the Hamastanian enemy is infinitely more reliable and effective.
As reported by my colleagues at Israel National News.com: "Following a missile hit in the vicinity of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's home in the Shati neighborhood of Gaza City, an IDF spokeswoman said that 'Haniyeh’s home definitely was not the target.'"
"Definitely." That little word says so much. It says, "Oh no. We would never even think of harming Haniyeh or his lovely house! Oh, no, no, no. Don't be silly."
So now, much like in the story of the Biblical Noah, any animal will know that he or she can find refuge in the "ark" of Haniyeh's home.
I understand that Haniyeh's wife is to start renting beds on the second floor of her house to wanted terrorists seeking a rest from a hard day of shelling Sderot schools. Maybe it will become the new Arafat-style Mukata. Remember that? It was the "headquarters" where wanted PA terrorists hid out with their PLO Godfather, enjoying his beta-version anti-IDF force field.
But if a Palestinian Authority terrorist is not fortunate enough to live near Ismail Haniyeh or the Mukata, he can always grab any child within reach and go on with his business appointments completely unmolested (which is generally less than can be said for the child). This method apparently works wonders for keeping those pesky IDF helicopter gunships away.
As reported in the Jerusalem Post last year, the PA terrorists "'cloak' themselves in women and children and families. There can be a situation where for days we know a terrorist is in a certain place and we don't attack him... We feel that he's in a place that could be problematic. There are at least 10 operations we don't carry out for every one that we do," [Israeli Air Force Chief Eliezer Shkedy] said.
They "cloak themselves"? Like the Romulans, also from Star Trek?
The difference between Star Trek and life in the Middle East, of course, is that one is filled with bizarre creatures in outlandish costumes who are constantly threatening the future of the universe, and the other is a TV show.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Let Them Unite
I have four brief comments on this latest insane statement by our venerated and mustachioed leader:
1) Maybe I missed something, but wasn't Hamas freely elected in a landslide election by the PA Arabs? Haven't all polls shown that the PA Arabs deeply desire continued murderous attacks against Israeli Jews? The PA Arabs are already united around Hamas....
2) ...except for those united around PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, which is, of course, much better. After all, Fatah members murder Jews while releasing communiques from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades; whereas, Hamas members murder Jews while releasing communiques from the Izz A-Din Al-Kassam Brigades.
3) How long exactly would the PA Arabs be "united" around Hamas without water, electricity, fuel and communications? And what good does that "uniting" do for Hamas if the organization is crippled - without electricity for their rocket manufacturing, without fuel for their rocket-bearing vehicles, without water for their thirsty militiamen, and without phone service to order their minions around? Not to mention the justice of cutting off their continuing broadcasts of the Mickey Mouse Mullah.... In other words, the PA can't continue to fire rockets at Israeli schoolchildren using their "unity" - they need electricity, water, fuel and communications.
4) And why does Peretz think that Arab psychology works differently than in Israeli society? Has the ongoing siege of Sderot caused 'the entire Israeli population to unite around Olmert and Peretz,' or has the effect been exactly the opposite? Aderabeh, the Arabs unite around that force that proves (or boasts of being) effective in reaching their murderous goals. Deny them that victory.
I'd also like to point out what Peretz did not say in response to the suggestion that cutting off the Palestinian Authority's fuel and electricity would end the Kassam rocket barrages.
He never argued that it wouldn't work.
May 20-21 UPDATE
In northern Lebanon, a faction operating in a "Palestinian refugee camp" clashed and attacked the Lebanese military. Guess what the Lebanese government and army did?
"The camp’s electricity, phone lines and water were cut off," reports the Beirut-based Daily Star. The army also started shelling the Nahar Al-Bard camp fairly indiscriminately, as far as I can tell.
What's the matter with those Lebanese? Don't they know that all that will "cause the entire Palestinian population to unite around [Fatah Al-Islam]"?
Maybe they do, but they don't care. The Lebanese people are out in the streets cheering.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Creating Our Future Leadership
20 Iyar 5767 / May 8, 2007
It is banal to say that Israel is facing a major crisis in leadership these days. Elections alone cannot resolve it. An investigative commission of our political and security leaders - no matter how thorough in its recommendations - cannot resolve it. Mass resignations cannot resolve it (although I'd personally settle for that as a temporary salve).
To truly be a leader means to bring out the best in those being led, to motivate, to empower and to strengthen. It means to be an example of perseverance, honor, discipline and integrity.
But who leads the leaders? How are they created, if they can be created?
Recently, I was privileged to learn of a place where leaders are being created. Perhaps not leaders in the sense of politicians rising to the top in a game of influence, money and pull, but true leaders - people who lead by example; those very people of perseverance, honor, discipline and integrity that Israel needs.
The Mechina Program of the Northern Negev is a unique post-high-school, military preparatory academy that set as its goal the realization of the full potential of young Jews from Israel's underclass to become positive, contributing members of Israeli society. Focusing on youths from troubled or impoverished backgrounds, the Mechina seeks to transform low self-esteem, limited ambition and underachievement into motivation, self-respect, success and authentic leadership.
According to the English-language website of this important, all-blue-and-white program, the Mechina gives its students "an intense year of quality Jewish education, an opportunity to move from risk to success, and most importantly, we ignite the spark in each of them to fulfill their innate potential, in a religious Zionist framework.
"Without the Mechina program, these students would have little hope of excelling in the Israeli military, or getting a higher education, or ultimately assuming leadership roles in their communities."
And the Mechina, established only five years ago, has already proven itself. 12 of the program's graduates received outstanding soldier awards, four became officers and one was granted the President of Israel's Award for Excellence in Service. And that is just what they have accomplished in the IDF - just wait until these young adults spread their wings and really begin to fly.
According to a 2006 UJA study, the Northern Negev Mechina graduates report increased motivation, strengthened values, greater self-assurance and a deeper commitment to their community and their Jewish identity.
The Mechina and programs like it, I believe, are doing more to bring about a positive change in national leadership than all 200,000 people who demonstrated against the government last week in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. It may be the "long way," but it is the right way. And it's the only way that will last beyond next week's newspaper headlines - because it is based on a foundation that is older than last week's newspaper headlines.
To offer your help in transforming Israel for the better, contact Executive Director Naftali Kandler at email@example.com or 972-52-4239740. Donations can be sent to the PEF Israel Endowment Fund, Inc. at 317 Madison Avenue, Suite 607, New York, NY 10017. In Israel, donate to "Mechina Kiryat Malachi" at the Mechina Program, POB 57, Kiryat Malachi, or by way of direct deposit to account no. 209396 at the Kiryat Malachi branch (450) of Bank Mizrachi (20).