Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Well, Don't Ask US for Help!

I'm often proud of the amazing extent to which Israel will go to help others. In far away lands, in harsh conditions - against fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, collapsed buildings, and even after terrorist attacks (as if we don't have enough of that here), Israeli teams fly off, often at a moment's notice, to help others. Children (and adults) from all over the world come to Israel regularly for operations that save and improve their lives.

Luckily though, some rational element of our psyche steps in and says - enough. We offered help to Iran after a bad earthquake. They declined the offer. We offered help to several countries in the Far East after the tsunami, some took our help and lives were saved; others stood on pride.

But this latest news item surely is an example of where the other party should NOT be requesting our help:

From YNET:

A huge blast late Wednesday rocked a training base run by Hamas in southern Gaza, and at least five people were hurt, witnesses and a health official said.

Hamas' military wing has dispatched earthmovers to the scene of Tuesday's explosion near Khan Younis, fearing people may be trapped under the debris. Six people were wounded in the explosion that rocked a Hamas training camp, which was apparently the result of ammunition stores being detonated.

As we say in Israel, "gvul" - beyond this, we won't go and no, we won't offer to help.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Even Under Fire - Israeli Doctors Save Lives...Ours...and Theirs

Since its founding in 1996, Save a Child's Heart has treated 900 children from Gaza and more than 1,000 from Iraq and other Arab states that have no relations with Israel, as well as countries across Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, program director Simon Fisher said.

So writes Israel Insider in a detailed article about how Israeli doctors and health professionals continue to work to save the lives of Palestinian children and others from Arab lands, despite ongoing rocket attacks and worse - continued denials of all that they do. Worse even, is the slanted reports of journlists who too often ignore what Israel does and instead focus on what seems to be failures...again, while ignoring the cause.

This is an excellent article -well worth reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's Happened Again

Yet again, a bulldozer has been used as a terrorist weapon to hurt innocent civilians. Today's terrorist has been identified as Ghasam Abu-Tir, a relative of Hamas lawmaker Muhammad Abu Tir (the guy with the funny red beard and gray hair).

The terrorist was 22 years old and a resident of an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem. What is interesting is that, once again, the hero of the day is associated with the Kiryat Arba community.

53-year-old Yaki Asael from Susia, is an IDF Company Commander (res.), with eight children and six grandchildren. Asael owns and operates a vineyard and teaches Bible studies in the Kiryat Arba High School Yeshiva. Although 24 people were injured, Asael's quick actions probably saved lives.

What Israel will do as a result of this latest one knows. Stay tuned and pray for the wounded.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Israel's UNwanted Guests

There is an animosity in Israel, among Israelis, towards the United Nations. Sometimes, the absurdity of how often little Israel is condemned (compared to Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and even Sudan/Darfur) brings us to choose laughter more than anger. Sometimes, though, the obscenity of this world organization and its local representatives is so reprehensible, we can't even bring ourselves to laugh.

Despite the UN's inability to see anything but the Arab side in almost every vote, one might have expected it to at least realize the indecency of celebrating and saluting child killers, murderers and terrorists...of course, in Israel, we remember that a line is drawn and a difference marked - when the victims are "only" Israelis and Jews. And yet, given the pain this recent "deal" has brought home to Israel, one might well understand the anger this news (from Israel National News) evokes:
Israel has protested the action of two United Nations Interim Forces (UNIFIL)
soldiers who were photographed by the Associated Press while saluting coffins of
Hizbullah terrorists freed by Israel. UNIFIL is mandated to patrol southern
Lebanon and prevent Hizbullah from re-arming. Its original mandate also calls on
them to disarm the terrorist organization, but UNIFIL officers said at the
outside of their mission they would not try to carry out the orders.

Further evidence on the UN's endless targeting of Israel can be found at:

Here is just a sample:

Security Council:
  • 175 Total Resolutions
  • 74 Neutral
  • 4 Against the perceived interests of an Arab state or body
  • 97 Against Israel
General Assembly:
  • Cumulative Number of Votes cast with/for Israel: 7,938.
  • Cumulative Number of Votes cast against Israel: 55,642.


Since the Council first convened in 1946, at least one Arab state sat on it in 39 of the body's first 43 years. Israel never sat on the Council. From December 1947, when the 'Palestine Question' first appeared on its agenda, to 1989, the Council held 2,682 meetings of which 747 (26%) were devoted to the Arab-Israeli conflict. During this period, the Council passed 605 resolutions of which 175 (29%) concerned this conflict.

Balance or Tilt:
Of these 175, 74 (42%) may be labeled neutral or balanced. Of the remaining 101, 4 (4%) criticized or opposed the actions, or judged against, the perceived interests of an Arab state or body. Ninety-seven resolutions (96%) were critical, or opposed the actions, or judged against the perceived interests of Israel. The last time a resolution passed the Security Council whose major thrust criticized Arab actions was on September 1, 1949.

Between 1947 and 1989, the Council 'called upon,' 'demanded,' 'requested' etc. Israel to 'comply,' 'desist,' 'refrain' etc. 123 times. An Arab state, states or body was 'called upon' 'ordered' 'requested' 65 times, or 47% less.

In these requests, Israel was explicitly named 105 times. References to Arab states were usually implicit, as in '...the parties concerned'. An Arab state was identified by name 12 times.

The Council expressed its 'concern,' 'grave concern,' 'regret,' 'deep regrets,' 'shock' etc. about Israeli actions 31 times. Regarding Arab actions, the Council never expressed negative sentiments.

The Council 'condemned, 'censured,' 'deplored,' 'strongly deplored' etc. Israel 49 times. The Council never 'condemned,' 'censured,' 'deplored' etc. the Arabs.

The Council 'warned,' 'solemnly warned' etc. Israel 7 times. The Council never warned the Arabs.
The above data concern the entire post-war period until 1989, but by isolating the period June 1967-1989, the numbers rise into even starker relief

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lebanon's Greatest Shame

I don't usually quote Shimon fact, I don't usually even listen to him. But this time, perhaps, there is wisdom in his words (though I still believe he should not have agreed to pardon Samir Kuntar...there can be no pardon there, not in this world and not in the next).

Shimon Peres on today's "prisoner" exchange:

"Kuntar the murderer, who crushed the skull of four year old Einat with his gun butt and shot her father in cold blood, in Israel the nation is in tears.

"Israel is in the right, and justice is the true expression of man's victory. We will bow our heads in memory of the heroes who died. We shall continue to stand upright, as a nation guided by morals.

"If we ask where the supreme moral victory lies and where human defeat lies; in the welcome for an indescribably vile murderer or the candles in memory of loved ones, the answer is clear. Lebanon shall be ashamed and it needs this shame in order to survive properly."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are Thousands Leaving Israel?

According to the Iranian news agency (IRNA), Israelis were so terrified by the display of power [that refers to their launching three missiles...and one that failed] that it has sparked a mass emigration.

Iran's national news agencies referred to a "massive emigration from Tel Aviv following the military maneuver."

Did anyone happen to mention to the Iranians that it is summer in Israel - a traditional time for Israelis to take "massive" vacations? If they think this is something...wait until August!

Of course, all those massive emigrants will become massive immigrants in a few weeks time! This gives a whole new meaning to the term spin!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reaching the Red Line

In Israel, we are obsessed with many things, including water. We live, on average, eight months a year with no rainfall and so, when Israelis greet each other in the winter months, when rain does make an appearance, with the common phrase, "It's miserable out, thank God."

The obsession includes constantly watching the water level of the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret). We watch it go up in the winter, track a slight increase as the snow melts off the Hermon and flows down into the sea. And then we watch in late Spring and Summer as the sea begins to drop.

Years ago, when we reached the "red line" - many Israelis found sad humor in the fact that rather than limit pumping, the government decided to declare a new red line. And there's the black line, which is the level below where we cannot even pump.

A few weeks ago, a water line on our block was hit and so everyone passed that point had no water. My eight-year-old daughter turned on the taps and nothing came out. In a panicked voice, she said, "What, we got to the red line?"

Well, no, we hadn't arrived at the red line and within a few hours, we were back among the watered of the world.

And now today, while we still have water flowing through our pipes, we have indeed reached the red line...

According to Israel National News:

The water level of the Kinneret reached a record low of 213 meters below sea level Monday, its lowest level since 2001 when the level recorded was 214.87 below sea level.

While the measurement in 2001 was taken at the end of the summer, the current measurement was taken at the beginning of the season leaving room for the possibility that the water level could drop even further by summer’s end. In Israel, there is no rain during the summer months.

Thank God, We Survive

On July 2, 2008, Rochelle Eissenstat, her husband, and three of her children were in Jerusalem doing what many families do during the vacation - relaxing. They would meet friends and celebrate the end of the school year, the start of summer. What happened to them, shouldn't happen to any family - they found themselves in the midst of a terrorist attack. This is a first hand account - one that makes this clear that this attack was not a traffic accident or a madman's rampage. This was, in the deepest and clearest sense - a terrorist attack whose goal was to murder Jews and Israel. He succeeded in murdering three Israelis and hurting many others. He did not succeed in murdering Israel, and his people never will.

Thank G-d we survived the terror attack in Jerusalem on Wed, July 2

By: Rochelle Eissenstat
Reprinted with permission

On Wed., July 2, 2008, an Arab started trying to kill people on a very packed busy street in Jerusalem with his work vehicle, a caterpillar type of huge bulldozer. He just drove it onto the adjacent packed street and started trying to crush cars. One of the first cars he attacked was ours. In our car were my husband in the front passenger seat, me the driver, and 3 of our girls in the back; we were on our way to meet visiting friends.

As we drove toward the place, we were on the packed street called Sarei Yisrael, when suddenly, several workmen suddenly ran into the street gesturing vehemently that we should clear out. This was really impossible with the very packed traffic! And anyway, just behind them came a huge bulldozer at an impossible-seeming speed.

In the first seconds as he bashed into a car to the left of us, it was not entirely clear whether the vehicle or driver was out of control. But then after flattening car #1, he crushed a second car next to us, and turned his attention to us, as I was already trying to reverse our car, as the only direction possible to attempt to distance ourselves from him, hoping that the drivers behind me would also back up. So there we were stuck in our car, staring into the face of this man determined to kill us. He was around 30, looked somewhat overweight, with a fixed, purposeful look on his face, but unbelievably was using his bulldozer as a deadly weapon.

I still feel how bizarre this was - a bulldozer! I have read since then, that later he was screaming Allah is great, but at the moment he was staring at us, determined to crash into us next, he was unsmiling and silent, with only what I thought was a look of determination and concentration on his face.

He crashed his dozer into the front of our car 2 or 3 times after having successfully crushing the 2 near us with one blow each. Those 2 other cars I saw which he attacked before us were pancaked but amazingly the drivers were able to escape since he couldn't crush the drivers' sides quickly enough and no one else was in those cars. One driver was the woman whom he had diabolically motioned to proceed and then bashed into her car and as she dashed out of her destroyed car he tried to run her down! A second vehicle, a taxicab was flattened next. The 2 drivers both escaped from their cars virtually unscathed. The woman who was dressed unreligiously and we stayed together in the hospital - she declared that God must exist here after all. At any event, within seconds we were attacked.

We were immobilized in our car by his repeated violent crashing into us. Was he frustrated that our car didn't collapse with his first blow like the first 2 and yet it was full of people to kill?

Over the next period of what was probably really only a minute or so, he bashed the front of our car repeatedly and bashed our roof with the shovel at least once, all to no avail!!!. Unlike the 2 other cars he had attacked first, our car would not crush. He then drove ONTO the roof of our car trying to crush the 5 of us in the car with the full weight of the dozer.

This is truly a miracle - our inexpensive Mazda 5 minivan still did NOT collapse. The sides of the frame were so distorted that we could barely open only 1 door, the front of the car was crushed, and the front window in smithereens but the roof only a little caved in! I was the driver and as the bulldozer rammed us, I put the car into reverse - no other direction to go.

His ramming pushed the car back against the one behind me but at least that movement absorbed some of his impact that might otherwise have further crushed the car with us in it. Since I was unable to do anything at the moments of his attacking us, I don't think now that my thoughts were really prayer. They consisted of just a realization that when we can do nothing, then everything is in HaShem's hands.

We couldn't try to get out until he stopped ramming our car. Then as we tried to open the doors, we discovered that the front passenger door was the only one that could be opened by my husband, but 1 of my kids had her window completely open so we all got out in the 2 ways quickly.

We wondered whether we should have tried to escape while he was still attacking the car but he had already tried to crush another driver as she got out of her car [his first intended victim] and later we were told that he had a pistol which he used to try to kill others. It was hard to get out as fast as maybe we needed to because we were trembling so much.

It took me a few minutes to be sure my legs wouldn't buckle under me if I tried to stand up. One of my kids has a bruised arm but it is a miracle that we were otherwise unscathed. Is this a recommendation for the Mazda 5? I don't know, our air bags NEVER opened :-) But they would not have helped us and the sturdiness of the frame did!

Does Mazda design the minivan 5 to withstand a dozer driving into and over it? My brilliant husband had picked that car as the safest and best model for the money for us. We walked away from the attack!

We feel so glad to be alive. After his rampage including our car, he continued on to other cars, pedestrians, and at least 1 full bus behind, having finally given up trying to destroy us in our car. After driving over us, he apparently killed a new mother and rammed at least 1 bus effectively and turned it onto its side. 3 people were killed before a policeman and I think a soldier were able to jump into the dozer's cab and grapple with him.

I think that is when he started shooting. Another man grabbed the gun of the policeman fighting the Arab [because he couldn't take his hands off him to reach his own pistol] and shot him and killed him.

For what it is worth, the perp was a 30 year old Arab, a citizen of Israel, had a well paid job with good government benefits, lived in his own house, and was married with children. His deed was praised fervently by his young widow who professed to be glad of his heroic action.

The government says they MAY raze the perp's home and MAY suspend the gov. benefits the family would have been entitled to. Given the attitude of his widow, I have no problem with the government's plans. It remains to be seen whether they go through with them after the humanitarians of the world and our own bleeding hearts start protesting these reprisals as unacceptable cruelty to innocents.

Besides, Saudi Arabia in particular sends checks for at least $25,000 to start to the survivor families and other benefactors send them money besides. The widow will be sitting and entertaining the numerous visitors come to congratulate her on her hero of a husband.

So we've received lectures about how we are going to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One person told us that we had to recount our ordeal at least 100 times in the first day to avoid PTSD. Another told us to immediately get psych counselling from an expert. So far we are all too numb to do more than go through our days on auto-pilot.

My kids were called by everyone in their school, kids and teachers, by now I think they have retold their experience 100 times. Most of our friends and neighbors have found out we were at the terror scene and called us too. I broke out some chocolate for the kids that I usually save for Shabbat and the kids put on a funny movie.

One of the girls' friends had come over but didn't inform her mom who finally calmed down when she tracked her down to our home. What has so far been the most effective means of staving off PTSD is our neighbor Miriam's chocolate chip cookies. She brought over a freshly baked batch.

We have always thought they are probably the best in the world even when one isn't trying to fend off PTSD. We know that we have to start counselling ASAP but are still too numb to initiate it yet.

Thursday is the first day of the new month, and with the Jewish calendar, also the new moon, a traditional holiday especially for women, so we will all be praying especially thankfully. We went to pray at the Wall. I have already started wondering why G-d made a miracle for us so that our inexpensive car somehow withstood the terrorist's REPEATED blows while other cars were flattened at once [that would have killed all 5 of us].

We happened to have donated generously over the past year to Victims of Terror, but among the killed was a dedicated teacher of the blind and a warm wonderful early childhood teacher who had recently had a baby after years of fertility treatments.

I think that our past mitzvot [good deeds] cannot measure up to this miracle saving our lives. HaShem clearly needs us to still do things - mitzvot here, so we are needed to live.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sometimes, All You Can Say...

is, oh God, it has happened again.

3 killed as Palestinian bulldozer driver goes on killing spree in Jerusalem

Three Israelis were murdered and and at least 45 others were injured when a bulldozer driven by a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem trampled over pedestrians and vehicles and plowed into two buses in downtown Jerusalem at around noon Wednesday.

Magen David Adom reported of casualties on Rashi, Jaffa and Sarei Yisrael streets.

The driver, who reportedly had a criminal record and was the holder of an Israeli
(blue) identification card, was shot dead by a SWAT officer near the old Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The terrorist was identified as 31-year-old Hossam Dawiath, a father of two from the village of Tzur Baher.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Do You Have a Computer?

Well, obviously if you are reading this, you either have one...or at least have access to one. And, that puts you right along side a vast majority of Israelis!

According to the CEO of Google Israel, Meir Brand, more than 70 percent of the households in Israel have a computer and 90 percent of those have broadband Internet access. What does that mean? Well, according to these statistics...and Brand's interpretation of them, that puts Israel in second place in terms of personal computing in the world.

Way to go, Israel!