Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goood News and Bad News

Well, according to Israel National News, the good news is that most Saudi Arabians want to improve relations with the US (this according to a recent poll).

The bad news for Israel...they want us dead.

So...there are times in life when you just have to smile quietly and just realize you can't accommodate all the folks, all the time. You win some, you lose some. And all of that.

I don't plan on letting that stop my plans and it isn't exactly like I didn't think that was the, for all's well that end's well - guess it's time for Israelis to accept the bitter truth. I don't think they like us too much.


According to Israel National News...

Slightly more than one half of Saudi Arabian citizens would like to see the state of Israel destroyed, according to a telephone poll. 51.3% of the people surveyed said that they "oppose any peace deal that would recognize Israel's existence and would prefer that all Arabs keep fighting until there is no Israel in the Middle East."

In addition, 89% had an unfavorable opinion of Jews.

The survey was conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow, among a random sample of 1,004 Saudi Arabian nationals. The organization, which has leading American politicians on its advisory board, emphasized that the survey found most Saudi Arabians favor improving relations with the U.S. and have "turned their back on Bin Laden."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Teach the Children?

There are things we teach our children, here in Israel, that they should not have to learn. No child should learn to look for suspicious people who they think might blow up the bus that they are on. No child should learn how to put on a gas mask. And no child should learn that a siren means run for your life, because you have only seconds before there will be an explosion.

But...if they have to live it, perhaps it is just that we have to see them run and feel their fear. Someone posted just such a countdown on YouTube.

First, picture it in your mind - children in kindergarten...suddenly, a siren, and the children run as they count...until the explosion.

"Tseva Adom" - Color Red...the children have learned a routine of counting down the 15 seconds they've got until the explosion of the rocket...

Once they get to '0', they start singing out load, so they won't hear the explosion of the rocket...

In the saddest sense of the word, this is Israel.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cool Evening and Hot Alerts

It's another cool evening in Jerusalem as winter firms its grip on the capital city. People are preparing to go home for the evening; others are getting ready to go out. Those who live in the city and commute to other areas of the country will have trouble getting home because, once again, there is a security alert and once again, the army and police have set up roadblocks and checkpoints. Cars are being searched in a desperate attempt to beat the find a needle in a haystack.

It's a rather interesting analogy - a needle in a haystack. What happens if you don't find it? Someone might get pricked when they accidentally move the hay. What happens when you don't find a terrorist on his way to commit suicide? The answer is all too well known to Israelis.

And so, once again, we'll put up with the delays with stoic calm. What option do we have? We'll complain to our families about being late; we'll sit in the car and raise our hands in surrender to the person in the next car. But we'll accept it because the option is so much worse...if the bomber gets through...if the planned attack succeeds.

We may never know if the police find the person, or if it was a false-alarm. Sometimes, days later, the army announces they found a terrorist with explosives who had planned and attack and sometimes, we remember the night we were stuck in traffic or had to cancel plans. It's all very much part of Israel...and perhaps our willingness to accept it, in light of the possible consequences sends the wrong message around the world.

Others complain about how Palestinians are inconvenienced waiting at checkpoints; international organizations protest delays - and yet they seem so willing to ignore the obvious...even hundreds of Palestinians delayed going to work or school is not worth surrendering the life of a dozen people. Tomorrow, hopefully, the Palestinians will get to work or school on time...but the person murdered in the terrorist attack will never work again, never go to school again, never live again.

You cannot improve the quality of life for some people - when terrorists hide amongst those people with the hope of smuggling in and stealing the lives of others. The solution is, as it has always been, to stop the terrorists from acting from amongst the civilian population...and then the civilian population won't suffer.

In the meantime, the roads are jammed. People are sitting in traffic, canceling or postponing their evening plans, and praying that this time, like so many times in the past, the army and security forces are able to pull off a miracle, and catch the needle before it explodes the haystack.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Just when you think...

Israel is truly a country in the 21st century with the most modern medical advances being discovered, the greatest computer technological creations and so much more coming out of our hi-tech industry, we are reminded that we are still...well, a nation in the Middle East.

Today's Israel National News had a short item warning drivers of a donkey on the road near the villages of Neve Tzuf and Nachliel. As everyone knows, this can be a serious thing if a car and a donkey collide...not good for either party!

But it's just not something I remember happening in New Jersey...or, as they used to say, "You aren't in Kansas anymore, Dorothy!" I wonder if they have donkeys roaming the roads in Kansas....

From Israel National News:

A donkey is roaming about on the road between Neve Tzuf and Nachliel, in
the Wadi Zarka area in southwestern Samaria. Drivers are asked to beware.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rockets We Save Hearts

Despite rockets falling in Sderot, a major school strike that has all but crippled the junior and high school studies this year, and many other problems, Israelis continue to reach out to others that desperately need our help.

Although there are many organizations and people who are trying to help others both here in Israel and abroad, this group (Save a Child's Heart), has a focused goal and does an incredible job - and all without dealing with politics. The place where a child is born, the child's gender or religion mean nothing to this organization. It's an incredible goal - and almost more impressive is their quest to bring their knowledge and expertise to local doctors. There is a concept in Judaism that better than to give one a fish dinner, is to teach them to fish.

Fixing a child's heart is so important it transcends location and politics - this is the message of this incredible Israeli organization - and even more impressive is their willingness to bring doctors to Israel so that they can learn, so that they can save. During a week in which dozens of rockets and mortars were launched against Israel, we would have every right to turn to our own needs, to worry about our own population that is being terrorized daily by rocket attacks from Gaza, and yet this organization and these doctors cared enough to go to a far away country to save the lives of children who desperately needed them...this is Israel.

According to YNET News:

Save a Child's Heart" (SACH) organization sent a medical mission to Moldova's capital, Kishinev, to provide emergency medical care to a group of young cardiac patients. The mission headed by Dr. Lior Sasson Director of Cardiothoracic Department at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, operated on seven local children whose life were in danger – and saved them.

In addition, mission members examined 30 other young patients who due to complications, will be transferred to Israel for further treatment. The surgeries were performed jointly by the Israeli doctors and their Moldovian colleagues. Some of the local doctors were invited to Israel for training in pediatric cardiology. The local media referred to the Israeli doctors as "the Israeli angels."

SACH has been working in Moldova since 1996 and is responsible for saving the lives of some 50 children and for training local cardiac surgeons. The organization is a part of an international humanitarian project, based in Israel, dedicated to performing live-saving cardiac surgeries and providing medical treatment to children in developing countries.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Victory on the Board

The chessboard, that is. Israel was well represented by 12-year-old Marsel Efroimaski from Kfar Saba this past week - as she sailed to win the 2007 World Youth Chess Championships for girls 12 and under. It's a wonderful testimony to the peaceful activities many Israelis encourage their children to undertake. Most cities and villages offer after-school activities such as ballet, art, music, English lessons, sports of all types and much more. It's what a normal, peace-loving country does - because it means we want our children to focus on the important things in life, despite the violence that all-too-often surrounds us.

So this week, as we celebrate with Marsel's family, we celebrate a victory for our children and for us - we are doing something right!

Excerpt from the Jerusalem Post:

Marsel Efroimaski, a 12-year-old from Kfar Saba, is the new world chess champion for girls 12 and under. She won the title after eight rounds of play at the 2007 World Youth Chess Championships held this week in Antalya, Turkey.

Efroimaski, who returned to Israel on Thursday, is still trying to grasp her huge victory. "At the moment I knew I got first place, it was exciting and confusing and it was hard to believe that I had won," Marsel told The Jerusalem Post. "I was overtaken by emotion."

The young chess champion started to play after-school chess when she was eight. She continued to play in the Kfar Saba chess club, and now plays in Ashdod.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

There's A Helicopter Over My Head...

Circling and circling. They are waiting, as many of us are...for a boom, for the moment when the terrorists succeed. Sometimes it seems inevitable; sometimes it seems we are winning the battle. The pressure is high here now in Israel as we wait for the Annapolis Summit to begin...knowing that there are forces trying to derail it. Sadly, the only way, or perhaps their favorite way of doing this is by murdering Israelis and so our security forces have raised the warning level and put all forces on alert. It's disconcerting to have a helicopter flying over head, making large circles, disappearing for a few minutes to some other side of the city, and then returning here. Being on alert, even high alert, is another part of life in Israel. It can go away for months at a time...but usually, especially when the world believes the opportunity for peace might be at hand...those who would see otherwise choose to act. And we, who sit at our desks and try to work...listen to the helicopters and simply pray that this is yet another day when they don't get through, when nothing explodes. No matter what happens in Annapolis or in the weeks and months and years to this moment...I hope the helicopter pilot is vigilant and that when he goes home tonight, he can say to his wife, "Nothing happened...except I got to fly over the most beautiful city for hours, around and around...and then I came peace."

From Israel National News:
Jerusalem on High Alert

Jerusalem went on high alert on Sunday after security forces received a warning early on Sunday afternoon that a terrorist group plans to carry out an attack in the city. Two terrorists are reportedly on their way to the capital.

Forces are stationed in eastern Jerusalem in particular, near the entrances to the city. Witnesses say police have blocked the entrance to Hizme and the bridge at French Hill. Additional roadblocks have been set up near Adam and Shaar Binyamin. Police Special Forces are mobilized, wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ever Have Your Car Stolen?

Well, I have...and it's no fun. It's a shock, a violation of your property and you feel that you have this anger in side of you...and no one on whom to vent it.

My car was stolen from a street in the middle of Petach Tikvah, in the middle of the day, approximately 10 years ago. A friend of a friend...that sort of thing happens a lot in Israel...had a friend who was a private detective. He made some calls and told me my car had been stolen by Arabs from a nearby village and was sitting there, waiting to be taken apart. He told me for a small fee, I could get it back.

There were back and forth talks, but in the meantime, some Arab took a fancy to my car and decided to take it to Ramallah. From there, it was seen months later, parked outside the Ramallah police department...and my white car had been painted blue.

"How do you know it was my car?" I asked the person who told me.

"It had your license plate on the floor of the back seat."

Well, ten years later, and thousands of stolen cars's news tells us that even Knesset members are not immune.

According to recent news reports:

A Palestinian Authority Arab stole MK Effie Eitam’s car early on Thursday
morning. In the car was a cell phone with the phone numbers of several
senior government officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The
Mazda 5 was leased by the Knesset.

Eitam said the thief called him to negotiate, saying he was in Ramallah and would return the car in exchange for NIS 12,000. "At first he [the thief] called my family, then my assistant and finally me," the National Union-NRP member told news agencies. "He said to me: 'I stole your car. I'm in Ramallah. If you want it back, I'm willing to hand it over for NIS 12,000 (approximately $3,000)'."

"You frequently hear of such cases, but when it happens to you it's kind of a shock," Eitam continued.

"You know deep inside that you won't be seeing that car again. And the thief? He's just a few kilometers from here and wants to negotiate. On his way he even passed an Israeli checkpoint. He couldn't have reached Ramallah any other way. I immediately informed the Knesset's chief security officer of the incident. There is one positive aspect to this incident. As a Knesset member I now feel what many regular Israeli citizens feel when their car is stolen. Unfortunately, a meter from our house exists a lawless entity [the Palestinian Authority], with no order or security," Eitam said.

So, I just want to remind MK Eitam...if you happen to find someway to get your car back...please remember all of those who didn't manage to have the Israeli civilians who came out of meetings and found that almost-new car...gone. We were angry, as you are now. We were shocked to find those pieces of glass on the ground and no car in sight. Mitsubishi SuperLancer of Mazda 5, the feeling is the same. Someone took what was mine, what I worked hard to buy, what I took care of, and what I needed.

On the bright side, apparently the security fence has had a great impact not only on reducing the number of terrorist attacks, but has also drastically reduced the number of car thefts in Israel. Well, I've always thought MK Eitam was a good incredible rarity in the Knesset, so...if you ever need a lift, call least till the insurance company pays on the policy :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Maaleh Adumim to Sderot: The Promise He Couldn't Keep

Reprinted with permission from: PaulaSays

Twenty years ago, my next door neighbor and his young wife decided to move to Maaleh Adumim with their small family. They were young and idealistic and didn't have a lot of money. So, they built a beautiful house on the top of the mountain, on the edge of a new city that like their family was growing. Their house was built of Jerusalem stone, like all the houses here, and they could see the beautiful, majestic city of Jerusalem from their living room and bedroom windows.

Her family was from Sderot and were unable to understand why they would move so far away, but the young couple was determined to find their own corner of Israel, to make their own way, and build their own lives. He made her a promise, though. When they retired, many years into the future, beyond anything that a young couple could really imagine, they would move back to Sderot to be closer to her family, her sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts and cousins.

For more, click here.

Sometimes, there are No Words

Ido Zoldan, of Shavei Shomron, will be buried on Tuesday at 1:00 PM in Kedumim.
Zoldan, 29, was murdered in a terrorist shooting attack in Samaria around 11:00 pm Monday night. Palestinian Authority terrorists fired on the man from a passing car as he drove by the village of Funduk, near Kedumim. Paramedics who arrived at the scene were unable to save his life.

Zoldan is survived by his wife Tehila and his two small children, three-year-old Aharon and one-year-old Rachel. The family moved to Shavei Shomron after they were displaced from Homesh in the Disengagement of 2005.

May God avenge his blood and may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorry.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amazing Creations

Israel's hi-tech industry continues to be at the forefront of innovation and development...this week - it's Intel-Israel...and the Penryn chip that makes its debut.

According to news sources:

Global computer company Intel unveiled the latest addition to its processor family this week: a new chipset temporarily named "Penryn." The innovative processor is based on hafnium, a metal that is used in transistor production as well as in nuclear plant control rods. It reduces electricity loss through the use of third-generation silicon materials, also does away with the need to incorporate eco-unfriendly lead and halogen in the production process.

"These are the biggest transistor advancements in 40 years," Intel co-founder Gordon Moore said. The latest Penryn innovation drew upon expertise and experience accumulated during the Israeli development of the Centrino processor

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Gotta Laugh

Another thing I love about Israel is the ever-present need to read the news with a sense of humor. It's hard sometimes - there are rocket attacks - several today, attempted terrorist attacks - two 15-year-old Palestinian boys caught today planning to attack a Jewish holy site, and too many traffic accidents.

But then, in the midst of it all, comes the humor. From today's Israel National News:

Senior Palestinian Authority official Farouk Kadoumi recently told a Tunisian paper that Israel was responsible for the deaths of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon killed Arafat using poison, he said. He accused Israel of “further crimes in Lebanon and Iraq” as part of a scheme to gain control in the Middle East. Hariri was assassinated in 2005. Lebanese lawmakers and United Nations investigators suspect Syrian involvement in the killing. While the cause of Arafat’s death in 2004 has never been revealed, speculation supported by some PA sources includes rumors that he died of AIDS.

Never one to worry about the truth and the reality of events and facts here in Israel, Farouk Kadoumi has come up with the latest of his many lies and exaggerations. All evidence points solidly to Hariri being murdered by the Syrians. The simple fact, some three years after his death is that Arafat's illness has never been confirmed because the rumors are probably correct. Either way, no evidence existed then (or now) to suggest even the tiniest of truth in Kadoumi's words.

So, in Israel, we accept. Arab leaders will float their lies hoping to fool anyone they can into believing and this too is a reality we live with daily. The only difference, it seems, is that sometimes the lies of Palestinian leaders infuriate us versus today, when they simply amuse us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Raining!

In Israel, rain is a national preoccupation - more important than any sports event or political election. Will it rain this winter? How much? How soon? Where?

We can't control the rain, but we can control the water once it falls. According to latest news reports, Israel has the highest rate of water reclamation in the word, with more than 70 percent of water being re-used for agriculture and non-drinking purposes.

From Globes Magazine, by Laura Goldman

In Israel, there are several venture funds concentrating on water technology like Altshuler Shaham's "Green Fund", Triple 7 (Tal Treatment Technology), Gaon Agro, and Kinrot. Dan Moses from Debby Communications mentioned, “There is a water technology conference in Tel Aviv.

More than 180 companies will be participating. This is an incredible achievement for a country with 7 million citizens.” Mr. Oren predicts, “In the future, exports from Israel of water technology will top those of hi tech.” Some obvious international investments are the stocks of water utility Vivendi, Nestle, the owner of the number-one bottled-water company worldwide, and Coca Cola.

UBS is following a different approach by investing in several stocks in the water field including American States Water Company, a supplier of water services to the military; water utility Aqua America; filtrations company Pall; and Thermo Electron. The investment in Thermo Electron caught the eye of this writer.

The Environmental Protection Agency has found that the installation of water meters like the type produced by Thermo Electron can produce a savings of up to 15%. Soon, they will be as de rigueur as air conditioning in a building. Efficiency will be to the year 2020 like extravagance was to the 1980s. UBS has created the Water Strategy Certificate to give investors easy access to innovative companies in the water field.

It is an actively managed basket of 25 international stocks. To be selected for the Water Strategy Certificate, the company must have one third of their sales in the water field. A UBS publication has listed these companies as possibilities for inclusion in the basket, but there is no guarantee: Canadian Hydro, a developer of low impact energy projects including those with water; Manila Water, California Water Service Company, the largest water utility in the Western United States; Instuiform Technologies whose products rehabilitate pipes; the operator of water treatment plants BioTeQ, and water consultant Tetra Tech.

Investing in the water field will not be like panning for gold. There will not be instant profits. It is taking a long time for people to understand that global warming is not an urban legend. It will take even longer for them to believe that water, the neglected stepsister of global warming, is an even more dire threat.

Booky Oren summed it up best, “We need to make peace with our neighbors because of water, instead of fighting wars over water.”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Strikes...a National Reality

It seems that someone, somewhere, somehow, is always on strike in Israel. Some strikes last for a long time, some for a short time. Some are prevented before they begin, others seem never to end.

Last year, I don't remember how many school strikes there were, but the universities were on an extended strike for many weeks, leaving students having to attend classes and takes tests long into the summer break.

This year, as September rolled around, the teachers in the Secondary Schools made their annual threat to strike, the university professors threatened to strike, the airport workers has a slowdown in anticipation of a strike and...all around, no one know what was going to happen.

The school year started - kids went to school...and then the secondary school teachers went out. They've been out for over a week now - and today, when the universities were about to begin, the professors announced that they too would be striking.

So, what makes this year's strikes different than in the past? Well, now there's a Yahoo group being started - communication in the 21st century!

Here's some information about the group - if you are a teacher, parent, or student (and who isn't?) - you might want to join and get the latest information. From their website ( :

This forum has been created for all parents, teachers and children affected by the school strike in Israel.The strike at high schools and some junior high schools has entered its second week with rhetoric heating up as teachers and parents plan rallies and government officials claim the educators are refusing to negotiate.

"We're going to keep on as long as it takes, and we'll succeed," a Secondary School Teachers Organization representative said ahead of Monday night's demonstration at the Tel Aviv Museum.

Secondary School Teachers Organization officials said the government had backed down on threats to turn to the labor courts to stop the strike, and that the strike would not be broken through legal action.

Various parties continued to call on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to personally intervene to end the stalemate between the Secondary School Teachers Organization and the Finance Ministry.

"Education, even after the [Second] Lebanon War, is no less important than security," said former National Security Council chairman and Tafnit Party founder.

This forum will serve to provide the latest information regarding the school strike in Israel, where rallies and demonstrations are planned and where teachers may provide information regarding private classes for their students.

Teachers in Israel deserve an honest, fair, just and respected wage for their professionalism and full time dedication. Our children deserve a quality educational

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Israeli research and brain power!

Let's hear it for the amazing researchers at Israel's Technion University - they have discovered some amazingly wonderful side effects of having a nice relaxing cup of tea!


Researchers at the Technion Institute of Science in Haifa have shown that feeding green tea extract to mice with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease protects brain cells from dying, and helps 'rescue' already damaged neurons in the brain. Numerous studies around the world have suggested that drinking green tea may help support the brain as people get older. But now comes evidence that it can actually repair brain cells!

Tea consumption is inversely correlated with the incidence of dementia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, which may help to explain why there are significantly lower incidence rates of age-related neurological disorders among Asians than in Europeans or Americans.

But, according to Dr. Silvia Mandel of the Technion's Eve Topf Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the study she led was one of the first to show how the main antioxidant polyphenol of green tea extract, EGCG, actually works when it gets access into the brain. Mandel presented her findings last month in Washington DC to a rapt audience of colleagues at the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health.

"Researchers have been actively searching for better ways to support brain cell repair for many years," said tea and health expert Dr. Carol Greenwood who attended the DC conference.

"This finding that green tea, a natural product consumed by millions of people every day, can help repair them is especially exciting."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Heart of a Child...knows no borders.

According to the Israeli-based organization, Save a Child's Heart...

Two Iraqi children set to arrive in Israel today for emergency heart surgery.

Two Iraqi children are set to arrive in Israel today for emergency heart surgery. Both children were screened by Israeli doctors during a one-day cardiology clinic set up for 40 Iraqi children in Jordan, organized by Israeli-based organization, Save A Child's Heart on October 9th, 2007.

Israeli doctors immediately referred a 5 month old girl and an 11 year old boy from Iraq for emergency medical treatment in Israel due to the severity of their heart conditions, which if not treated, would leave them at risk of dying at any moment.

40 Iraqi children, accompanied by their parents, made the journey from Iraq to Jordan where they were screened by a SACH medical team, including, Dr. Akiva Tamir, Head of Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Alona Raucher-Sternfeld, Pediatric Cardiologist and Dr. Sion Houri, Director of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, based at the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel. General Electric equipped the team with a state of the art, portable echocardiogram machine which greatly assisted with the diagnosis of children.

Logistical support for the mission was provided by the Christian group, Shevet Achim and medical facilities were offered by the Red Crescent Hospital in Amman.

Since January 2007, SACH has operated on 18 Iraqi children. To date, a total of 35 children from Iraq have been treated by the organization at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon. Iraqi children who arrive in Israel with their family, reside at the SACH Children's Home in Azur.

Save A Child’s Heart provides life-saving heart surgeries for children from developing countries regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Since its inception in 1996, SACH has treated over 1700 children from 28 countries around the world including; Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Moldova, Vietnam and China. Close to half of the total number of children treated at SACH are Palestinian or from Arab countries including Jordan and Iraq. Follow up care and comprehensive medical training are also an integral part of SACH’s core mission and activities.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Tree of Life

Among all the horror stories of the Holocaust, there are, every once in a while, some wonderful stories of brave individuals who chose to do the right thing. People who risked their lives and their safety to help another individual because they saw the humanity, not the religion.

Today's post has to do with an object, not a person. There was a tree, in a small village in Czechoslovakia. Though the tree had no choice, made no decision, it in fact saved the life of a young Jew. Jakob Silberstein has gone on, in the decades since World War II, to build a life for himself, to have a family, but he never forgot the hollowed out tree that gave him refuge for 9 hours while the Germans searched for him. Decades later, he found the tree and asked the current owner if he could buy it. The owner donated the tree for free, and Jakov brought the tree to Israel.

And now, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum has honored the hollow tree that proved to be the salvation of 83-year-old Jakob Silberstein during World War II.

The Holocaust survivor spent 50 years tracking down the tree that saved his life, he said. “This tree, for me, is life,” he said during the ceremony. “It saved my life.”

The Polish-born survivor lost his entire family in the concentration camps, including his two parents and three brothers. For Jakob, it was the tree of life - and he has brought it to a place where it will be honored for years and years and years to come.

Combatting Anti-Semitism on the Web - Israel's Problem Too...

You can help combat anti-Semitism on the's as easy as a click.

Google and Search

The Google team recently posted an explanation of why one particularly anti-Semitic site is at the top of its search engine when someone searches for the simple term "Jew". Essentially, the reason

People are sending around an email about this site...and everyone is clicking on it to see if it is really as bad as they say (it is). That boosts them to the top.

To counter this, we need people to click on "good" links - here are a few. Please click on these links...and return to click on others on this page late today, tomorrow, etc. These links are further down in the search engine and as they are promoted, they should pass the bad sites and rise to the top. Let's hope - please do your part by clicking and asking others to come to this page and click too!

Jew: FAQ about Jews
Jew: Jewish Virtual Library
Jew: Encyclopedia Britannica's definition
Jew: Another Wikipedia entry

Reprinted from: PaulaSays

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Kassem and Katyushas

Yesterday and the day before, kassem rockets slammed into Israel from Gaza. Years ago, when we were all more naive than we are today, Labor Party Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was horrified at the thought that we would be subjected to a rocket attack from Gaza. If they dare, he was quoted as saying, it will be war.

Well, the kassems came from Gaza and killed and injured Israeli children. The mortars came and the kassems continued to come and an entire area has lived in terror for several years now.

How far can you run in 15 seconds? It sounds like a child's riddle, a game you play. But the answer in Sderot is often, "not far enough." You have 15 seconds, if you hear the Color Red siren, to find shelter.

Last summer, when katyusha rockets were falling in the north, much of Israel went about its business. It was strange to go sit in a business meeting, to stand in line at the post office, to go grocery shopping and to make a barbecue outside...all while thousands of katyushas were raining down on our northern brothers. It's unthinkable that a nation should allow its people to be subjected to such a bombardment. What civilized nation would allow it? The answer, of course, is only Israel.

And today, a new red line has been crossed, a new atrocity against our country that, like the others, will pass in silence. The Ben-Eliezers of Israel hang their heads in silence - it doesn't bring war. Even the injuring of more than 60 soldiers as they sleep doesn't bring a response. Even the death of little four-year-old Afik Zahavi, the pride of his parents after many years of trying to have children, was not enough to trigger a meaningful response.

Yesterday it was kassems and mortars on Sderot. Today it was a katyusha near Netivot. Someone once was telling people how wonderful Israel was. People argued that he was blinded to the realities here and he responded, "I said Israel was the promised land, not the perfect land."

And so, today, Israel remains promised, but not perfect as we wait to see how our government will respond to this latest escalation.

How far can you run in 15 seconds...too many of us may find out too soon...this too, is Israel.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Tree that Still Grows

Today seems to be a day where we are posting about the greater Israel...that which encompasses all Jews, all over the world, for all time. This post is about a tree...

It's a tree in Amsterdam...that grows just outside the secret annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis. Though Anne was captured and died...the tree lives on. In mid-1944, Anne wrote, "Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year."

Recently, the Amsterdam municipality decided to cut the tree down...and after much protest...they have given it a reprieve. The Anne Frank organization has set up a live camera feed, where you can go and see Anne's tree. Maybe the more people that click and see it...the longer the reprieve will be - so, if you have a minute, click the following link - and while you are looking, think of a young, beautiful Jewish girl, who once stared out at the chestnut tree and dreamed of a better tomorrow...she didn't live to see that better tomorrow, but we have all been blessed.

You can "visit" the tree live via webcam:

Helping to Fight Anti-Semitism on the Web

Another part of being Israeli is worrying about Jews and anti-Semitism around the world. So here's an interesting idea that isn't really part of Israel...but is so incredibly Israeli.

There's a horrible website (I won't tell you what it is...because it doesn't matter) - Jews have been writing about it and sending it to others to protest...and each time, people click on the link - pushing that horrid website higher and higher in the Google search engine. Yes, I've seen it. It's filled with lies and hatred...the only thing that we are the catalyst helping them promote their hatred - and it's time to stop!

Now we are launching a global effort to bury that anti-Semitic site way down in the search - and here's the secret - I'm creating this link - help today - and click on it. Want to help again - come back tomorrow and click on it again, and again and again. Send this page to everyone you can and ask them to click on the link as well...

The more we click...the more THIS link will rise and those who are evil and seek to spread hatred...will fall. It's as easy as a click:

Want to help - just click this word: Jew
It'll take you to the Wikipedia entry for "Jew" - it's simple. It's neutral - and tons of clicks will bury those others in the ashes of their hatred. May that be our revenge!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow and click again!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Helmet Law Comes to Israel

It's a great day in Israel!

Starting today, a new Israeli law goes into effect requiring bicycle riders and those using roller-blades or skateboards to wear helmets. The Knesset passed the law requiring the helmets two months ago and hopefully, from today on, people will follow the law.

It's a silly thing really - not the law, but the fact that it has to be a law. It really is common sense. It really is so simple. But it really doesn't matter - because today, Israel accepts a law that will protect our children and those speeding along, hopefully enjoying themselves - safely!

Although there are laws in various states and localities in the US, there is no nation-wide law requiring helmets and in fact, more than a dozen States in the US have no law requiring helmets. So, as of today, Israel joins a handful of nations in the world...only a handful...who have made this law. It is yet another sign that we cherish our children and will do all that we can to keep them safe! This is Israel!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Taking 2nd Place...

Taking second place isn't always a bad thing - sometimes, it can be amazing.

According to a recent article in YNET, Israel's very own Boris Gelfand has taken second place in the chess world championship. Israel has traditionally placed high in many chess tournaments and this was no exception. Reports YNET:

Israeli chess player Boris Gelfand tied former chess world champion
Vladimir Kramnik of Russia for second place Sunday with a masterful display of
cunning in the world chess championship in Mexico. Indian national Vishwanathan
Anand emerged the victor of the grueling competition.

The Israeli chess master was ranked seventh in the world at the beginning of the competition which made his accomplishment at the competition all the more remarkable.

Boris Gelfand was born in the city of Minsk in Belarus. He taught himself how to play chess at the young age of five. He and his family made aliyah nine years ago.

Double Serving in Israel

There is a much publicized debate in Israel about who is serving in the Israel Defense Forces and who is avoiding service. The left and non-religious sectors focus on the large number of ultra-religious Jews who avoid service in favor of spending years learning, while the right and religious seek to publicize the often ignored tendency among secular and prosperous non-religious Jews to avoid service by claiming illnesses or hardship, or simply avoiding the call.

During this back and forth dialog in which neither side is really addressing the issue...comes a heart-warming story of one young woman who could have joined so many others and avoided national service...and chose not to.

According to several leading Israeli newspapers and sites, Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer, who played in the U.S. women's quarterfinals last month, chose to return to complete her army service. Peer was awarded "outstanding athlete status" and given a deferral to enable her to practice every day. And yet, after the tournament, she chose not to join those well-known entertainers and athletes who chose to dodge the draft.

"There was no question," Peer said. "All my friends are going and I wanted to be a part of it," said the 20-year-old tennis star/soldier. Peer will complete her two year compulsory service for women, serving as a military administrative secretary. Her dedication and commitment to her community and country represent the best of what is Israel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Justice Comes...

to those who wait.

Another aspect of Israel is an incredible sense of justice. In the US, we were always taught very proper concept of "justice delayed is justice denied." In Israel, we learn another aspect of this tenet. Even when justice is delayed, you have to keep pursuing it...and it will come.

Seven years ago, two Israel reserve soldiers on their way to do their reserve duty, made a wrong turn and entered Ramallah. Their names were Vadim Nurzitz and Yossi Avrahami. In a violent episode that was largely filmed and aired later, the two were dragged from their car, beaten, and finally lynched.

Early this morning, the IDF announced that Israeli soldiers has arrested 36-year-old Tanzim terrorist Hayman Zaben in Shechem. Zaben is the last of the terrorists responsible for murdering IDF reservists Vadim Nurzitz and Yossi Avrahami. All the other terrorists responsible for the lynch are already in Israeli custody.

Nothing can bring comfort to their families - to the wives who lost their husbands and the children, including one born a few months after the lynching to Vadim's wife, who lost their fathers, but this is yet another case where we can see that justice comes to Israel...even if it takes time. This too, is Israel.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Helping Nicaragua

In recent weeks, Israelis have continued to travel over the world, helping others. After a horrible plane crash in Thailand, Israelis were among the first to send medical teams to help the injured and identify the dead. It's a sad fact that Israelis have much experience with dealing with this sad task and a wonderful testimony to the heart and soul of Israelis that we are willing to offer these services to others. Today's post has to do with yet another story of Israel reaching out to help.

The Israeli government has announced it is sending medical supplies to help the people of Nicaragua after a devastating hurricane hit - more below:

This is Israel!

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sending $25,000 worth of medical suppliesto Nicaragua, aid to the victims of Hurricane Felix, which struck Nicaraguaat the beginning of the month.The hurricane, which hit the northern Caribbean coast of Nicaragua close tothe Honduras border, left a trail of devastation and at least 40 peopledead. Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless by the categoryfive hurricane. The International Red Cross made an appeal to the international communityfor help, and as a result Israel is sending medical equipment which willreach Nicaragua within a few days. The Israeli ambassador to Costa Rica andthe Israeli Honorary Consul in Nicaragua will present the equipment to therepresentatives of the Nicaraguan government.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Weather and The Water

Israelis have a national obsession with the weather and the's a topic that dominates our news throughout the year.

The weather comes into play mostly in the winter, but most begins around now, the holiday season.
"Temperatures will drop by one degree Celsius Friday night and Saturday, and the
weather will remain through next Tuesday. The thermometer will begin to rise,
and the long-range forecast calls for slighter warmer than usual temperatures on
Thursday, the first day of the week-long Succot holiday. No precipitation is in

No precipitation is in sight - thus begins our national obsession with rain. For a country that is water-starved, every drop of rain is precious; every drop of water not to be wasted. Will it rain this winter - enough to fill the Sea of Galilee? Even better, will it rain so much, we will have to open the flood gates and let the water flow freely into the Jordan River to wind its way down and begin replenishing the depleted Dead Sea? It's an ongoing soap opera here!

Soon, we will hear the level of the Sea of Galilee - it is measured daily (and probably several times a day) to determine it's location in relation to a "red line" and the ideal "full" line. We are forever hearing that the sea is so many meters and so many centimeters below this line or above that line.

As the rainy season comes closer (it rains in Israel from around November until March and then usually not a drop - or at least not much more than a drop - from April through October), we all pray this will be a year of abundant rain to fill the rivers and make the land blossom with flowers. Israelis are obsessed with the weather and the water...and also the beautiful flowers the grow wild in the north and around the country during the rainy season.

May it be a year of abundant rain!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Are Rockets Inevitable?

Today in Israel, a sad statistic was released: Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in the middle of June, an average of 15 rockets (between seven and 21) have fallen in Israeli territory every week.

Over the Rosh Hashana festive weekend, no less than 13 Kassams were fired into Israel. Are rockets inevitable? Well, most Israelis believe that if Hamas can control public demonstrations, limit what journalists can report, control vast amounts of money and funnel it where they wish, they can certainly control when rockets are fired against Israel.

So are rockets inevitable? No - they will fall so long as the Hamas-led government or similar organizations believe it is in their best interest to shoot them at Israel. They will fall so long as the Palestinians believe they can gain more from rockets than negotiations.

Israel - Discovering Worlds

Much of what Israelis accomplish on this world is left unknown...but then too, so is much of what we do outside our small planet. Here's a nice story from the Jerusalem Post's Judy Siegel-Itzkovich on how Israeli astrophysicists are helping discover new (or in this case very old) worlds.


Israeli astrophysicists help find oldest-known planet outside solar system

The discovery of the oldest planet yet identified outside our solar system - just announced in the prestigious journal Nature - illustrates the process that is likely to lead to the sun burning out in approximately five billion years.

The planet V391b Pegasi, whose discovery was made possible by an international team of astrophysicists including researchers at Tel Aviv University, revolves around a "pulsating" star (V391 Peg) that is mutating from its "red giant" status to a shrunken "white dwarf."
The discovery means that astrophysicists can now measure the star's radiation and investigate the planet's characteristics, instead of just theorizing about the distant future of Earth and other planets when their suns reach the end of their existence.

Prof. Elia Leibowitz of TAU's Department of Astrophysics and Astronomy (and son of the late philosopher and biologist Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz) is a permanent participant in the international team whose paper in Nature included 23 authors linked in the Whole Earth Telescope project.

Leibowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night that "no one has actually seen any of the exoplanets, thus there are no photographs, but the data proves that they have to be there."
The Pegasi star, part of the constellation of Pegasus, is "a very weak star and can't be observed by the naked eye. After putting out data together about three or four months ago, we had long discussions of whether it was in fact a planet. Gradually, more people became convinced, and we presented our data to Nature, which accepted our conclusion," he said.

After the embargo on the article was lifted on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Israel time, the astrophysicists who participated broke open bottles of champagne and communicated via e-mail. They have never all met in one place, Leibowitz said. The research was led by Prof. Roberto Silvotti of the observatory in Naples.

As stars can be observed only at night, observatories around the world - including TAU's Wise Observatory located five kilometers west of Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev - coordinate to watch a specific star continuously through 24 hour cycles several times a year and measure its radiation.
V391b Pegasi and its sun are located some 4,500 light years from our solar system, and the planet is three times heavier than Jupiter, the largest planet revolving around the sun. It takes about 3.2 years, or 1,170 Earth-days, for the planet to make one revolution around its sun. The distance between the planet and the sun is 1.7 times that between the Earth and our sun (150 million kilometers).

But these characteristics do not make V391 Peg and V391b Pegasi very different from the 200 exoplanets that have already been discovered. It is very unlikely to have residents, because its surface temperature is about 200 degrees Celsius. Its sun pulsates, meaning that the power of its light rises and falls at a rate of one percent, pulsating every six minutes. It loses one second every 22,000 years. The radius of its sun is only a quarter of our sun's, and it is white-blue in color, with a temperature of 30,000 degrees (compared to our sun's 6,000 degrees). The main difference, however, is in V391b Pegasi's age - it is the oldest exoplanet ever discovered.

Our sun is a "primary series" star that creates nuclear energy through most of its lifespan. It has been doing so for some five billion years, and has about the same amount of time to go, astronomers say. At that point, within several million years, according to astrophysicists, it will turn into a "red giant," swelling to a radius 100 its current one and turning red. It will then swallow up Mercury and Venus, causing major changes in Earth and the other planets in our solar system. The sun will start to shrink and within a few hundred million years, it will turn into a "white dwarf" no bigger than Earth.

Leibowitz said Israel was ideally located for the research, as there are few observatories in the Middle East, and none of those that exist, including the Egyptian one, participated in the Whole Earth Telescope project. "Thus there were certain hours when we were the only one or one of the few able to observe the star. But the research continues, as we are due to meet at a conference in Egypt in the near future," he said.

Leibowitz was assisted by Ezra Mishal, the technical director of the Wise Observatory, and by Sami Ben-Gigi, the manager of the Mitzpe Ramon facility, along with John Dunn, the chief observer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Miracles from what could have been Great Tragedy

Israel is indeed a land of miracles. We have seen this repeatedly - when 39 SCUD missiles were launched against Israel from Iraq...and one man died as a result of a heart attack. We saw it last summer, when thousands of rockets fell on northern Israel and while many were killed and injured, almost daily there were reports of unbelievable near-misses and seconds or mere meters enabling a tragedy to have been averted.

Thus today, another story of what could have been a tragedy proving the miracle behind it. Last night, just after 2:00 a.m., two rockets were fired by terrorists in Gaza. They don't care where the rockets land, only that they terrorize, murder and maim. That's why we refer to them as terrorists - the target isn't a military one - merely the hope that some Israeli somewhere will be injured, the more the better, the worse the better.

This time, the landing location wasn't a school yard in Sderot, a sleeping family's home, a hospital or factory. This time, the rockets landed on an army base, sending more than 60 soldiers to the hospital. But what could have been a tragedy proved to be a miracle - none of the soldiers were seriously injured, most treated for light wounds and shock.

But the miracle for one family was even greater. Segalit Ido, whose son Roi is stationed on the base, was called to the hospital because her son was among the injured. After the first rocket attack, Roi ran to help his friends and was injured by the second rocket.

Roi will celebrate his 20th birthday in just a few days. "His gift is that he is alive," the soldier's mother stated. It is the ultimate miracle and the ultimate gift - the gift of life.

The Palestinians are celebrating in Gaza for the "success" of the rocket attack, but we will celebrate the greater gift, the greater miracle - more than 60 families in Israel are celebrating that their sons are alive and well and what could have been a great tragedy, proved to be a great miracle instead.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

3000-year old honey...from the Land of Milk and Honey

Israel is the land of milk and honey - that promise is supposed to imply that it is a sweet land, a prosperous land, one in which the inhabitants will not suffer hunger and poverty. Now comes news that Israel has always been a land of honey and sweetness. This is particularly appealing, given the proximity to Rosh Hashana, when it is a tradition to eat apples dipped in honey and other sweet dishes.


JERUSALEM (AP) -- Archaeologists digging in northern Israel have discovered evidence of a 3,000-year-old beekeeping industry, including remnants of ancient honeycombs, beeswax and what they believe are the oldest intact beehives ever found.

One of the ancient beehives found at Tel Rehov in Israel.

The findings in the ruins of the city of Rehov this summer include 30 intact hives dating to around 900 B.C., archaeologist Amihai Mazar of Jerusalem's Hebrew University told The Associated Press. He said it offers unique evidence that an advanced honey industry existed in the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

Beekeeping was widely practiced in the ancient world, where honey was used for medicinal and religious purposes as well as for food, and beeswax was used to make molds for metal and to create surfaces to write on. While bees and beekeeping are depicted in ancient artwork, nothing similar to the Rehov hives has been found before, Mazar said.

The beehives, made of straw and unbaked clay, have a hole at one end to allow the bees in and out and a lid on the other end to allow beekeepers access to the honeycombs inside. They were found in orderly rows, three high, in a room that could have accommodated around 100 hives, Mazar said.

The Bible repeatedly refers to Israel as a "land of milk and honey," but that's believed to refer to honey made from dates and figs -- there is no mention of honeybee cultivation. But the new find shows that the Holy Land was home to a highly developed beekeeping industry nearly 3,000 years ago.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Opening Our Schools

While much of the world continues to do nothing...while the UN occasionally debates and passes resolutions (when it isn't too busy condemning Israel, that is), the small nation of Israel is doing something to help dozens of Sudanese chidren who have, with their families, found refuge in the Jewish state. This is Israel.

Dozens of Sudanese children to be integrated into Israeli school system with help of special classes
Moran Zelikovich
Published: Israel News

Seventy-six Sudanese refugees, ages four and up, will be integrated into the Israeli school system during the coming academic year, according to an announcement by Education Minister Yuli Tamir Sunday.

The Sudanese children will be enrolled in Israeli grade schools and high schools despite the fact that their parents are in the country under refugee status, and without permanent housing.

According to the child protection law, any child who has been in Israel for over three months must be integrated into the country’s school system, regardless of their parents’ civil status.
Thirty-five of the children will be integrated into Eilat schools, 23 in schools belonging to the Eilot regional council, 16 in Arad, and two schools belonging to the Jordan rift valley regional council.

The students will be placed in special classes designed for children who have recently arrived in the country. They will spend 29 hours a week studying Hebrew, mathematics, and sciences; classes will be conducted in the children’s’ mother tongue Arabic.

Education Ministry Southern District Director Amira Haim told Ynet, “We are opening six new sections of kindergarten’s and classes designated for the Sudanese students only. We have already found Arabic teachers, since some of the children are Christian and some are Muslim.”
Haim also said the education ministry had allocated hours for dealing with emotional and psychological issues alongside the regular academic curriculum.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Earthquake in Peru...Israel preparing to help

Two things happen almost simultaneously in Israel when a natural disaster strikes somewhere in the world. The first is that Israel usually finds out if help is needed, and the second, Israelis immediately want to know if any of our own were there. This has always been the case and slowly, we hear news of how many are missing...until the last one is reportedly found. This was the case during the tsunami when Israel relentlessly went in search of its citizens, flying rescue teams to help the native population as well as teams to help in areas where it was knownt hat Israeli tourists were vacationing.

This was also the case several years ago when a terrible earthquake hit Turkey. Within a very short period of time, Israel's rescue forces set out with special equipment, helping to save lives and find victims. One special team dedicated itself to finding an Israeli family. First, Israelis found the body of a young Israeli boy. They kept searching for his twin sister, Shirin, her father and grandparents. Her mother had managed to escape the rubble and was trying to get help for her family. Ultimately, Shirin was pulled from the rubble by Israeli rescue workers in relatively good condition. Though, her father and grandparents perished, the rescue of Shirin and the touching site of an Israeli soldier holding Shirin minutes after the rescue remain one of those images that remain in our hearts forever.

Now, in the aftermath of another bad earthquake, this one in Peru, Israelis are once again moving forward to offer assistance, and also checking about the fate of Israelis in the area. Almost immediately, it was released that 120 were missing, most likely due to a failure of the communications system that prevented them from contacting their families. Hours later, only four remained as more and more travelers contacted worried relatives in Israel.

Rescue teams may be sent to Peru

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke with Peru's Ambassador to Israel Luis Mendivil to express Israel's condolences to the Peruvian people and offer help. President Shimon Peres has also offered his condolences and ZAKA, a national aid and rescue organization that also focuses on respectfully handling casualties, has offered to organize and fly volunteers there as well.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Amazing Instances of Israel Helping

Today's little-reported story is about a wonderful organization named Save A Child's Heart (SACH). This week, SACH will welcome the arrival of its first group of Rwandan children suffering from heart disease to be operated on in Israel at the Wolfson Medical Center.

The five children, who range from just a few months old to 15 years of age, will land in Israel on Tuesday, August 14th, 2007, accompanied by a Rwandan Nurse as well as by two mothers. These are children who would most likely die in their homeland but will be given a chance to live and grow...because people in a far away country like Israel cared enough to help save their lives.

The story isn't well-publicized...because the goal is to save lives, not make headlines. In the short-term, this is the correct and proper goal...but in the long term, after the children's lives are saved and others as well, it would be wonderful if world governments and organizations would take notice. This is not something Israel has to do...they are not our citizens, they don't even live on the same continent...but this is...above most headlines you'll read today in the newspaper - THIS is Israel.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Irony and Hypocrisy

Nasrallah of Hizbollah says: "The most important thing this country
relies on is the army. They say that every country and nation creates for itself
an army, but Israel is an army for which a state has been built. Without a
strong army Israel would not be able to survive in the region."

One of the things that we Israelis have come to expect from our neighbors and from much of the world, is hypocrisy, often tinged with strong irony. Today's news out of Lebanon is no different. Nasrallah says that the most important thing we rely on is our army, and, to some extent, he is correct. If not for the army, surely Israel would have ceased to exist decades ago. From there, however, he loses his credibility fast.

The irony however, is that this man of great violence, this man who launched thousands of rockets against innocent civilians in Israel and sparked a war by sending in guerrillas to attack and kidnap Israeli soldiers, should accuse Israel of being a nation built to serve the purposes of its army.

But Nasrallah returns to truth when he says that without a strong army, Israel cannot survive in the region. For all that he is a man of hatred and violence, Nasrallah is often one who says what others know to be the truth, but are afraid to verbalize. His most accurate and telling quote to date may well be when he said:
"We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are the most vulnerable. The
Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to
win because they love life and we love death."

For more Nasrallah quotes, see In Their Own Words: Nasrallah.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

But...what happened to the sheep?

According to a report in the news this evening, a passenger train hit a herd of sheep that was grazing around the train tracks near Kiryat Gat in the south.

No damages were caused to the train and none of the passengers was injured, but the train was delayed, according to the news report...and that leaves us with one burning question:

What happened to the sheep?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Defending Israel: Deny Nadia Abu El-Haj Tenure

Yet another aspect of Israel is the need to be ever vigilant against those who seek to rewrite our history and deny our past. One such "scholar" is a young professor at Barnard College named Nadia Abu El Haj. El Haj doesn't waste on facts...but allows herself to guess and assume...and then hope the rest of us won't notice.

Nadia Abu El Haj is a candidate for tenure not because she is an accomplished scholar - she is demonstrably not. El Haj work is of the kind that would be regarded as crank scholarship if not for the fashionably post-modern verbiage in which it is dressed.

The premise of her sole book is that the ancient Israelite kingdoms are a "pure political fabrication," invented, not discovered, by dishonest archaeologists. Because such an assertion cannot be proven using evidence, she ignores almost all actual archaeological evidence, turning instead to repeated and unsubstantiated assertions of fact based on conversations she claims to have had with "student volunteers" at archaeological digs and with "archaeologists" she does not name.

Even without the security of tenure El Haj has signed the petition urging Columbia to divest form Israel, and a petition alleging that Israel planned to carry out a brutal and massive ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians at the start of the Iraq war. There was no evidence of such a plan, just as there is no evidence for the absured allegations found in her book. (Such as her allegation that in the year 70, Jerusalem was destroyed not by the Roman Army, but by a Marxist-style rebellion of lower-class Jews targeting upper-class Jews. The book is filled with risible pseudo-history of this type.)

Some of the shortcomings with Abu El Haj's work are outlined in the petition. To sign the petition, please go to:

Further information is available on:

I urge you to sign this petition and forward it as widely as possible. While the goal is Barnard and Columbia graduates in particular, please feel free to send it to anyone that you believe will sign it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Did you Know? Interesting Facts about Israel

Getting to Know the Israel beyond the News

  • Israel produces more scientific papers per capita - 109 per 10,000 - than any other nation.
  • Israel has the highest number of scientists and engineers per capita than any other country in the world.
  • Israel has the highest number of start-up companies per rata.
  • In absolute terms, the highest number, except the U.S., Israel has a ratio of patents filed.
  • Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley.
  • Israel has the third largest number of companies trading on Wall Street after the US and Canada.
  • Israel has the highest number of solar power water heaters per capita in the world.
  • Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, radiation-free diagnostic scannign device for breast cancer.
  • The Firewall technology, used around the world to secure corporate and personal networks, was created in Israel by CheckPoint.
  • BabySense, another product developed in Israel, is working to prevent Sudden Infannt Death Syndrome (SIDS) worldwide.
  • Israel's Given Imaging developed a video camera so can easily fit into a pil tha
  • Israeli company, Tecnomatix, created the software sued by many major car manufacturers to manage their production.
  • ClearLight...another Israeli company, created a product that produces a high-intentisy, ultraviolet-light-free treatment that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct without harming the surrounding skin.
  • An Israeli copmany developed the first large-scale solar power plant - now working in California's Mojave desert.
  • Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds, behind the USA.
  • Israel has more museums per capita.
  • Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita.
  • Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on earth. These immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom or expression, economic opportunity, and quality of life.
  • Relative to its population, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech industries in the world.
  • The first high resolution camera that can fit on a single electronic chip - used for cellular phones - was created by an Israeli company.
  • Israel is one of only 8 countries in the world that has the capability to launch its own satellites into space.
  • Israel has often sent its emergency forces to help local populations in times of national disaster - this has happened in Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya, and many other places.
  • Israeli companies created the technology that brought us Voicemail, SMS text messages, and other cellular phone services.
  • More than 85% of solid waste in Israel is treated in an environmentally-sound manner...a higher percentage than the vast majority of the world can claim.
  • Israel is the only country in the world which had a net gain in the number of trees last year.

This is Israel


Israel is a land of hi-tech innovation. Sometimes, you cannot even imagine the things that are being developed (and documented) here in Israel on a daily basis. This need to create, to develop, to do what no one else has done before - better, faster, very much a part of Israeli culture.

Much of what is created is often sold around the world, even to places that would not agree to buy Israeli made products...of course, it isn't that they don't know it is Israeli, but rather they find it too convenient to ignore the roots of their every-day comfort. Do you think there are no cellular phones in Saudi Arabia? No disk-on-keys in Iran? How about Pentium 4s? Laptops?

"It is a long time since I bought any Israeli products," Norway's Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen said back in 2006.

One wonders if Halvorsen uses a laptop...most laptops today run on the Intel Pentium chip...created in Israel.

One wonders if Halvorsen uses a cellular phone...the cellular phone was developed by the Israeli division of Israel. Here are just a few of Israel's other inventions...perhaps Halvorsen and others like her should add these to their list of things to boycott...even if it does mean endangering their personal health...

  • Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.
  • The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed, and produced in Israel.
  • Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
  • The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 in Israel by four young Israeli whiz kids.
  • Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa have created a tiny robot which can enter a patient's bloodstream and deliver medical treatment.
  • Medical devices:
    Monitoring, including cardiology (CardioSense, Itamar) and diabetes (Glucon and OrSense
    - Imaging and Ultrasound, non-invasive (Cadent, CMT Technologies, Optical Imaging) or
    invasive (BIOMEDIcom, Capsule view, DenX, Scopic)
    -Therapy, non-invasive (Insightec, Meditrac, Versamed) or invasive (Biocontrol, BrainsGate, Disc-O-Tech, Impulse dynamics, MEL, NaviCath, Qscent, Rafael Medical)
  • A medical device invented by an Israeli company is being used by American emergency medical personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. WaisMed, founded at the Technion Entrepreneurial Incubator Co. Ltd. (TEIC) in 1995, is the inventor of the Bone Injection Gun (BIG) that allows intravenous fluids to be administered through the bone marrow when doing so through the veins proves impossible.
  • An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis.
  • An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralysed hands. This device electrically stimulates the hand muscles, providing hope to millions of stroke sufferers and victims of spinal injuries.
  • Young children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent.
  • A new research centre in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Centre in the Sheba Medical Centre at Tel HaShomer Hospital, aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research.
  • A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine.
  • Two Israelis received the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko's research and discovery of one of the human cells most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins, and immune defence systems.
  • The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel 's Hadassah Medical Centre has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.
  • For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for the treatment of uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the Ex Ablate 2000 System is a welcome breakthrough, offering a non-invasive alternative to surgery.
  • Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine.
  • A phone can remotely activate a bomb, or be used for tactical communications by terrorists, bank robbers, or hostage-takers. It is vital that official security and law enforcement authorities have access to cellular jamming and detection solutions. Enter Israel's Net line Communications Technologies with their security expertise to help the fight against terror.

This is Israel - a land of innovation and commitment to bring tomorrow's technological wonders to our world.'s another one:

Case Solved...this Time

Years ago, our car was stolen while parked in central Petach Tikvah. Within a short while, it became evident that we weren't going to get it's "This is Israel" story starts the same way...a vehicle stolen from a central location in broad daylight.

But this one ends differently because this time, it was a military vehicle...and this time, it was "found." According to recent news reports, the military vehicle of IDF's Ground Forces Commander, Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz, was stolen in Rosh Ha'ayin early Sunday morning. Police and intelligence intelligence efforts were initiated quickly in and around Rosh Ha'ayin and within a short while, the stolen vehicle was located near Kafr Kasem, not far from Rosh Ha'ayin.

A similar case happened years ago when the car of a famous rabbi was stolen. In this case, Knesset members got involved and within a short while, that car, too, was found and returned. Another funny story happened years ago when the mayor of Kalkilya wanted to show his good will. He ordered several cars driven back to Israel and returned and let Israelis know that if they had a car stolen, they should contact him for assistance. One can only wonder how he ever found the time to do anything else. According to some reports, more than 20,000 cars were stolen in Israel during the year 2006 (more than 4500 of them in Jerusalem).

At one point, a friend commented that car theft was actually a good thing, as it caused cars to be recyled more and older cars to be retired sooner. Whatever social benefits might result, the personal anguish cannot be ignored or minimized and every once in a while, police do manage to catch or thwart car thieves.

This is a "This is Israel" story because today our forces kicked into high gear...leaving the rest of us to wish it would happen a little more often.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

A Hand Across the World

As much as this blog is about Israel, it is also about Israel's connection with the rest of the world...and in turn, the connection the rest of the world has to us. Many of the posts in this blog detail wonderful and life-saving things that Israel and Israelis have done for people all over the world.

Today's blog is the opposite. This is the story of what one amazing person save the life of an Israeli child.

American kidney donor guest of honor at bar mitzvah of boy he saved,7340,L-3432937,00.html

This Sunday, 13-year-old Moshiko Sharon will take the stage at an Ashkelon party hall and, like any well-mannered boy at his bar mitzvah, will thank his parents "who have brought me to this point." But unlike his classmates, Moshiko has a third adult to thank for quite literally allowing him to reach this important religious milestone.

Three years ago the entire nation followed Moshiko's story with bated breath after a complete stranger from the United States donated a kidney to the young boy, thus saving his life.

The donor, Kansas City resident Eric Swim, will be the guest of honor at the festivities surrounding Moshiko's right-of-passage.

But Swim won't be lonely at the party, more than 1,000 people are expected to attend, including several high-profile guests who Moshiko's mother is remaining mum about to surprise her son.
Moshiko was born with only one functioning kidney and was in desperate need of a transplant. A suitable match, through the HOD (Halachic Organ Donor) Society, was finally located in the generous Swim, who agreed to come to Israel and go under the knife.

The two were operated on simultaneously and the transplant was declared a success.
Since then, Moshiko and Swim have kept in daily contact, speaking on the phone and writing each other emails as well as meeting up from time to time.

Swim, who is currently staying with the Sharon family, came laden with gifts for Moshiko and his family. "I thank God that we have reached this day," he said after landing in Israel.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More violence...and more aid

During the past week there were over 55 projectile launchings, approximately 30 of which landed in Israel. Among these, about 20 Qassam rockets launched into Israel, 11 of which landed in Israel in the past week. At least 9 civilians were wounded by Qassam fire, including a baby girl in Kibbutz Karmia, as well as structural damage that was caused to property in the western Negev.

At the same time, the IDF is continuing its efforts to provide a response to the humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip. Throughout the last week (8-13/7) the following humanitarian aid was transferred from Israel into the Gaza Strip with the coordination of the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison Office:
  • Sufa Crossing – Approximately 8880 tons food, medical supplies, dairy products, flour, sugar, reproductive eggs, rice, cooking oil, straw and animal feed, raw food materials and construction supplies.
  • Kerem Shalom Crossing – Approximately 1050 tons of food, medical supplies, dairy products, meat products, fruit, cooking oil and reproductive eggs.
  • Karni Crossing – Approximately 4180 tons of wheat seed.

Creating Electricity from....from....

Israel is a land of innovation. If there's a creative way to solve a problem, Israel will find it. While we are still looking for more ways to solve a deficit of water, perhaps we have found a way to solve or help solve our energy needs.

According to a recent article in Globes Magazine, a new plant in the Hefer Valley has begun to produce electricity from cow manure and other organic waste. The Tambour Hefer Ecology plant is located near Hadera. By creating electricity from...from...cow manure, Israel is able to add much needed resources to its often stretched electricity grid, reduce pollutants generated by the communities’ 12,000 dairy cows, and find a good use for 600 tons of manure.

This is Israel!

A Torah Comes Home

An integral part of the concept that Jews belong in Israel. Throughout time, Jews have turned towards Israel, no matter where they were, and yearned to come home. This became a reality for hundreds of thousands in the years after Israel was its ancient homeland. And even more, this became a reality for millions of Jews in the decades that have followed.

A few years ago, an organization known as Nefesh B'Nefesh began assisting Jews to find their way back to Israel by offering real assistance...whatever it would take to enable them to move here. Plane load after plane load filled with new immigrants have landed and today, a very special thank happened. Not only did some 200 new immigrants arrive from the United States, but one of the passengers brought something very special with him.

Dr. Kevin Schreiber, a pediatrician from New York, brought a 250-year old Torah scroll that had been rescued from Krakow, Poland. The scroll was found, almost 20 years ago, by a relative of Schreiber found it hidden in an ancient books' library during a trip to Poland in 1988. The relative took the Torah scroll back with him to the United States, and Dr. Schreiber has now brought it on its final journey home.

Monday, July 16, 2007

When Money Costs More than Money...

Despite the many serious security issues facing Israel on a daily basis, Israelis are as aware as much of the world is that often it is all about the economy.

Many years ago, Israel's inflation rates were skyrocketing and personal savings were plummeting, Israel attempted to rejuvenate its economy by creating the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), as compared to the old shekel that had been its currency. Each new Israeli shekel consisted of 100 agurot.

Long ago, people stopped thinking of the agura (single form of agurot) as anything other than an inconvenience. Shekel was the term and the currency. Several years ago, the one-agurot coin was banned as being simply not practical and so even though stores still priced things according to shekels and agurot...whenever you paid in cash, it was rounded up or down to the nearest 5 or 10 agurot.

Now the Bank of Israel has proposed taking eliminating the five-agorot coin after they conducted a survey that showed that most of the public finds it a bother. The humorous part of this is the simple mathematical equation - it costs 16 agorot to produce each five-agorot coin.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Rockets and More Aid...

On a day when at least four rockets were fired against Israel, our country continued to supply food and medical supplies to the Palestinians in Gaza.

According to today's report: more than 2,500 tons of food, medical supplies and other materials were transferred from Israel to Gaza on Sunday.

At the same time, some 8,433 vaccinations were transferred through the Erez Crossing, while
191 tons of fruit, 71 tons of milk, 33 tons of meat, 4 tons of chicken eggs for breeding, five tons of medical supplies for babies and 10 tons of disposable diapers were transferred through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

At the Sufa Crossing, 676 tons of sugar passed through, as well as 159 tons of salt, 20 tons of coffee, 20 tons of cocoa, 36 tons of rice, 14 tons of milk powder, 36 tons of tea, 25 tons of silicon, 116 tons of oil, 375 tons livestock feed, 79 tons of bananas, 637 tons of straw and 21 tons of hypochlorite.

The Gift of Sight

"There are none so blind as those who will not see," so said Jonathan Swift, an Irish priest, writer and philosopher (1667-1745). For Israel, it is likely a case of opening people's eyes to see the realities of what we do for the pair of eyes at a time.

Here's one story about how we are doing just that...

Israel to provide eye treatment for South Sudanese refugees in Kenya

For the past few months the Israel Foreign Ministry's Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) has been in touch with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Nairobi offering its assistance to the South Sudanese refugees residing in Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya.

The Kakuma camp, near the town of Kakuma, is located in Kenya on the road to Sudan, west of Lake Turkana and about 50 kilometers from the Sudanese border. The camp, which has been in existence for 15 years, holds about 75,000 people, mostly South Sudanese refugees. Currently UNHCR has begun a repartition program, sending refugees from the camp back to South Sudan.
Dr. Yosef Baratz, MASHAV’s project coordinator in Africa has setting up a temporary eye clinic in the camp with equipment purchased beforehand by Israel. The clinic would enable two Israeli eye doctors who would arrive on July 2, 2007 to properly operate on dozens of patients in the two-week period of their stay.

The physicians will provide consultation to local doctors.

Going Among Your Enemies

Can you imagine traveling to the heart of your enemy's country, perhaps to one of the largest cities there, while technically your country is still at war with that enemy? Today, as happens many days in Israel, the ironies of life surrounded us. Two news reports arrived.

The first was of two Israeli men who entered the Arab neighborhood of Azariyeh, near Jerusalem, hoping to sell several hundred pairs of jeans to an Arab resident, and instead the man pulled a knife and robbed them. Little wonder Israelis are forbidden to travel into these areas. And yet, as this was happening, an Iraqi woman was "wondering" into Israel - to receive medical care that will likely save her life. Here is her story:

Iraqi woman provided catheterization in Israeli hospital

The online news media WALLA reports, that a 30 year old Iraqi woman arrived to Rambam hospital in Haifa for catheterization.

The woman’s identity cannot be revealed due to the reason that she comes from one of the most dangerous cities in Iraq where militias could revenge and harm her family who lives in the city.
The Iraqi woman was able to reach Israel with the help of “Shevet Achim” a Christian organization that assists citizens from Arab countries in the Middle East to be treated in Israeli hospitals. This program is meant to bring hearts closer between Israel and the various Arab countries.

During the catheterization which was preformed by Dr. Avraham Lurber, a hole in the heart was repaired and next week the woman will be able to return to her family in Iraq.

Reaching Cyprus

I sometimes feel that this blog is becoming a list of all the things Israelis do to help others and less about life in Israel itself...and yet much of what has happened to us as a people in the past has shaped our willingness and our need to help others. The fact that this help is so ignored by the rest of the world does not lessen the importance of our actions.

Here is Israel, a nation willing to help others....

Israel sends aid to Cyprus to put out fire

At the request of the local government of the Republic of Cyprus, Israel sent two fire-extinguishing airplanes and 33 tones of fire extinguishing materials on Thursday morning (June 28, 2007) to assist in extinguishing fires that broke out in the Troodos Mountains last week.

The relief team which included 7 personnel among them fire fighters and physicians have been working along side local officials to contain the fire during the weekend. The team is currently on its way home.

The forest fire which broke out in the Troodos Mountains threatened the heart of the villages, homes, churches and summer camps. The villages of Pelendri, Saitas, Trimiklini, Kato Amiantos and Dimes have been evacuated.

According to the Forest Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, the fire was caused by high tension cables of the Cyprus Electricity Authority.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

And one for the Good Guys - Jerusalem is Ours

There are many "battles" for a nation, at least for the nation of Israel. Our wars are fought with armies, but also on the field of international opinion. But this last battle is a difficult one because our enemies include not only those who are against the State, but also those who hate Jews in general, and those who are ignorant, and those who seek exciting news without regard to the realities at hand.

We often lose more battles than we win. International media outlets such as BBC are notorious for their clear and well published bias against Israel and all things Israel-related. Reuters runs a close second with their coverage - a clear example of which was seen during last summer's war in which clearly doctored photographs were allowed to be presented as "evidence" of Israel's actions in Lebanon.

Now, the good guys have won one battle - on CNN. Up until now, the capital of Israel was too sensitive an issue for CNN and so Israel, and only Israel of all the countries in the world, was not identified next to its capital when readers wanted to learn about the weather. All other capitals were identified as: Cairo, Egypt; London, England; Paris, France. Only our captial was referred to as" Jerusalem" and not "Jerusalem, Israel."

This one wrong has been corrected and the capital of Israel is finally identified correctly as Jerusalem, Israel.

A small victory that we can only hope is the beginning of a greater attempt to report the news honestly and with all relevant information presented.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Violence for Food - a Palestinian message?

On June 27, despite the volatile security situation in the Gaza Strip, the IDF continued to provide for the humanitarian needs in Gaza. Throughout the day, the following humanitarian aid was transferred from Israel into Gaza through the Sufa crossing with the coordination of the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison Office:
· 581 tons of animal feed
· 319 tons of straw
· 327 tons of sugar
· 164 tons of flour
· 5 tons of semolina
· 143,000 liters of oil
· 134 tons of rice
· 27 tons of seedlings
· 32 tons of salt
· 30 tons of baby formula
· 24,000 liters of hypochlorite (a water purifier)

In addition, 24 trucks of humanitarian aid were transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing. 50,000 vaccinations were transferred through the Erez crossing and 22 Palestinians were taken for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

During the same period - no aid was sent from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country. And during that time, when Israel was helping to avert a "humanitarian crisis," Palestinians fired 4 Qassam rockets, one of which landedin Sderot. In addition, several mortar shells were fired and landed in the northern part of the western Negev and two Israeli soldiers were lightly injured by gunfire from Palestinian gunmen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thousands of words...but for a picture

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. What that often means is that the emotions and message of a single picture can often counteract the message received by even a thousand words. I thought of that saying recently when someone sent me the following pictures. The image of Israeli soldiers is one that brings anger and hatred around the world...even when they aren't even responsible...and the real pictures of Israelis soldiers rarely get media attention. Day in and day out, all they do is stand around and guard, defend against the possibility that someone may try to attack the place they are charged with defending.

Serving in the army in Israel is often a long and boring process, but this too is accepted as part of life in Israel. But there is another side to the Israeli soldier - the side that tries to reach out to "others" - not just to those whom they defend, but those who often associate and align themselves with the people against whom our soldiers are forced, too often, to take action.

Our soldiers have mere seconds to decide if the person approaching their checkpoint is friend or foe, someone simply seeking entrance to Israel for innocent reasons, or someone bent on murder and destruction. In those seconds, it takes all their training to decide, let them pass or stop and check them further.

It becomes a natural tendency to look, to evaluate, to question, to consider, to wonder, to fear, to hesitate. Despite this need, our soldiers remain people, human beings who reach out to others. Here then, are pictures of Israeli soldiers - our soldiers - our sons.