Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something About Tzipi



I've written about Tzipi Livni before and with performances like this...I will continue to do so.

Zoabi needs to go. Not because she is an Arab. There are Arabs in Israel and they need a voice, but the need a voice that doesn't hurt there opinions and their standing in Israel.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Glenn Beck: A Lone Voice



One of the most damning things about Glenn Beck is that he is a loud voice of reason. He has become a lightning rod of hate and smearing. Even on the Jewish front, those who support Israel, think he is a liar and a "closet" anti-Semite. His words, like so many others, are taken out of context, or if he says something for shock value, it is played ad nausea, until people believe he is actually all of those horrible names.

To be on the level with everyone, I have not read and heard everything Glenn Beck has written and said. For several reasons. Personally, I don't like all the Jesus preaching; if you want to be a religious Christian, be my guest, but in a public forum, I find it means more if you practice what you preach instead of preaching what you practice. That being said, he is what he is. His delivery is not for me.

Glenn Beck, however, is not an anti-Semite. He is a pro-Semite. He is a pro-Israel, pro-Jew Christian. Even if you don't like their ulterior motives, people like Glenn Beck are some of the fiercest supporters of the State of Israel. If not for the religious motive, than for the Democracy motive; and in these times of serious distress, we can use all hands on deck.

Glenn Beck is really a lone voice. He is a smart, passionate, vocal voice of reason and kindness, not just to Jews, but to Christians and Muslims as well. He has, on many occasions, stood up for Muslims whose conservative, non-extremist voices are seldom, if ever, heard. Yet, he is hated. Shame. People will try to bring "proofs" of him lying, stretching the truth and messing up. This constant malignment has raised the man to a polarizing figure. Leftists and Liberals say he is causing riffs in society, but they are the only ones who point out his supposed flaws.

As a general rule, when discussing Jewish-Christian relations, I am not the strongest proponent. Its with a guarded acceptance that I actually do accept it. This is not because I hate Christianity, but because of situations I have experienced that makes me question motives, but Christians United for Israel, Glenn Beck and similar organizations and people, must be accepted and held in high esteem for their work. Without them, it would be the Jews against everyone else. We have partners in peace and prosperity, we should embrace them, not shun them.

Start listening to reason people, we are in a time period where all voices count.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

West Bank NOT Occupied? Really?



These little short videos are really growing on me.

Response to +972 Magazine Absurdity

Original Article Found at +972

It is a very interesting thing, reading the anti-Israel websites. I find them to be...well...absurd. Without thinking about it, they see a situation and automatically it is Israel's fault. It is truly fascinating. Israel can never do anything right in these people's eyes.

For instance:

"Anybody who believes the platitude that the people want peace, it’s just the leaders who want war, should have been at Ben-Gurion Airport today. It’s a good thing those Free Palestine activists got arrested; otherwise, the little mob that formed spontaneously would have punched them up pretty good."

Its sad really. Why should Israeli citizens be angry at people just speaking their mind and practicing free speech? Do you not get it Mr. Derfner? Are you really so blind to the situation as a whole? Why do you think the Israelis are upset? I mean, I have known Israelis to be, for the most part, extremely warm, kind people. Very welcoming. So I guess it just doesn't make sense that they don't want the "Free Palestine" activists in Israel?

Honestly, thank G-d you live in Israel, because if you acted like you did in Iran or Syria, your head would be conveniently misplaced.

"I was there ostensibly as a journalist, and I was scribbling notes, but I felt cowardly not saying anything to these nationalist hooligans, so I started telling them in Hebrew, “What are these people doing?” The woman who wanted them thrown in the garbage said, “They’re hurting us!” I said, “They’re talking,” and the little mob turned on me, a couple of the men raised their fists. The woman told me, “Go back home, get out of here,” I said, “I live here.” The cops mistook me for a demonstrator, put me in the police van, but when I showed them my press card, they let me go."

As a journalist with a conscience, Mr. Derfner, do you not see screaming "Israel Apartheid" and "Free Palestine" is an act of provocation? Would you want to be called an anti-Semite or a biggot when you have actually done nothing wrong?  Maybe I'll sit here, with my head in the clouds, and call you a racist. Does it make sense? I've not even met you and have absolutely no proof to support this statement.

Is Israel an apartheid state? You say yes because Desmond Tutu says it is. He MUST know about it because he lived apartheid for so long. You say Desmond Tutu, I'll say Malcom Hedding, who says its not apartheid, but self-defense. How about former President of South Africa during the apartheid era, F.W. de Klerk, who said "I think comparisons are odious. I think it’s dangerous. It’s not a direct parallel, but there are some parallels to be drawn. Why did the old vision of so many separate states in South Africa fail? Because the whites wanted to keep too much land for themselves. Why will it fail, if it fails in Israel and Palestine? Because Palestine is maybe not offered an attractive enough geographical area to say 'this is the country of Palestine'"

My personal favorite is this one:


"In the Durban Review Conference of 2009, the Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh criticized Arab Knesset members for supporting extremism and calling Israel a "state of apartheid" rather than fighting for the rights of Arab citizens of Israel.
And then they come here to tell us that Israel is a state of apartheid? Excuse me. What kind of hypocrisy is this? What then are you doing in the Knesset? If you are living in an apartheid system, why were you allowed, as an Arab, to run in the election? What are you talking about? We do have problems as Arabs with the establishment here. But to come and say that Israel is an apartheid state is a big exaggeration. I am not here to defend Israel, but I think that Knesset members like this gentleman are doing huge damage to the cause of Israeli Arabs. I want to see the Knesset member sitting in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, and fighting for the rights of Arabs over there." Found on Wikipedia.

My point is this, Mr. Derfner. You are judged by the company you keep. Yes, there are crazy people on both sides. I will continue to delegitimize them because they do not speak for me. You, however, agree with these crazy people. They failed at the "Flotilla", which your friend Joseph Dana, was aboard. They blamed sabotage. Does Israel really care about the Flotilla? Not even slightly. Even if you brought building supplies through the right channels, it would be a fraction of what Israel already supplies the Palestinian Authority on a weekly basis. Israel doesn't want the Flotilla because it breaks a legal barrier, set up to keep its citizens safe from the terrorist groups in Gaza...or do you call them "Freedom Fighters?"

When you started yelling at the people protesting the protestors, you chose sides. You should have actually been arrested. You are lucky you actually weren't. And if you honestly think that you are bringing "oxygen to a suffocating nation," I would offer to pay for your plane ticket straight to Tehran, they LOVE free thinking "journalists" like you.

I can beg and plead for you to actually focus on an issue that is actually important, like Iran becoming nuclear, or Syria killings its citizens, but I think because you live in a nation that is being suffocated, the lack of oxygen has severely damaged your brain. I can only pray for you Mr. Derfner. Refuah Shleimah.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Unexplainable

The term "there are no words" doesn't describe what many people, including myself, are feeling today.

Supporting Our Israel isn't just about Israel, its about Jews too. We are one nation with one country, G-d given. We are G-d's children. When someone has a joyous event, we can all celebrate as family. When a tragedy happens, we do not shirk the responsibility, we gather around and try to make the best of a situation, or at least try to bring the pain down, no matter how minute.

Leiby Kletzky, HY"D, was only eight years old. Just typing those words choke me up and bring tears to my eyes. This beautiful child was murdered and the killer, whose name I will never write on this blog, is playing games, telling the judge today he hears voices and other nonsense.

Two nights ago, I was called by a friend of mine to go a half hour away and go help look for Leiby. I got dressed, had a quick dinner, told my wife I'll be back soon and left. We arrived in Borough Park and saw hundred of people active. It was such a Kiddush Hashem. Not only Jews, but I saw Muslims, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Russians, we all came together, unfortunately for naught, to look for this holy neshama. I felt proud to be part of the search effort, and in retrospect, I was only three of four blocks away from where his body was found.

People are right. There are no words. Many of my friends are like me, new parents. It doesn't compute, as a parent, to hear of someone losing their child, let alone in such a horrifying and disturbing manner. There are no words. It is frightening and nauseating.

Supporting Our Israel, meaning myself, Simon, stands for helping the Jewish Ideal. It doesn't just mean to help Israel. Without the Jews, Israel would just be another country, and without Israel, Jews would just be another religious group. We stand apart though, because in times of trouble and times of sorrow, such as now, we stand together, whether its bombs dropping in Sderot, a Jew in need of financial assistance, or coming together in memory of a murdered little boy, who only wanted to walk by himself from camp to his mother, roughly seven blocks away.

How can one explain this? How can one try to digest that one of our own perpetrated this heinous, disgusting, horrifying crime? It is unexplainable. Its incomprehensible. Truth is, however, I don't know if I want to comprehend it. This epitome of evil, disgusting entity, not even a human being, is so far off of many people's radars because it is just that, unexplainable.

There is no way to swallow this, but we can only learn a lesson. One I have always preached, in Yeshiva, in NCSY, on campus...We are all Jews. As Jews, we take the bad and we change ourselves. We make ourselves a little better. That is the greatest tribute we can give this little boy. Be nicer to your parents, or spouse, or children. Tell your kids, if you have, that you love them and let them never forget it either.

Ask anyone who may know me. I am not the type of guy who cries. I never have been. I have known Death, however, too much since I have been in New York, or for that matter, since I was young. I have had a family friend murdered, a friend hit by a dump truck, a friend drop dead of a serious heart problem and, more recently, a failed pregnancy that almost took my wife. Yet, this boy, whom I have never met, from a family I do not know, has completely floored me.

There are no words.

Believe me Leiby, you will be remembered. If for nothing else, then you have changed this single Jew. I can only sit here and try to change myself and hopefully, by proxy, my family, friends, and community.

We should never know of such tragedies again. We should only live to see Mashiach, to see the Geulah/Redemption and to once again, see those taken from us, including Leiby, in that time, playing with his siblings again, hugging his parents, and bringing nachas to Klal Yisrael.

To say there are no words would be a lie. There are words, but they can't come out and be heard over the crying and the sobbing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Game Plans

Recently on Israel National News, there was an article discussing the new Aliyah policy of Israel and the Israel Agency. Are they right or wrong? Who cares? Its an agency that should be doing more and is not focused. Which is a lot like the rest of the government these days.

For Israel to continue having high numbers of Olim yearly, which from the year 2000 has dropped dramatically, the entire country has to focus. The entire government is at fault, not just the Israel Agency. High taxes, lack of employment, lack of security in many areas that should be secured and low amounts of reasonable areas for families to live and grow, on top of many other, deeper issues, make the job of the Israel Agency more difficult, many times over.

So how should proceed? Where should they center their focus?

Think Like an Oleh

Religious Ideology is the main factor of a Jew from the Diaspora moving to Israel. Regardless of their affiliation within Judaism, a Jew moving to Israel is a deeply religious experience, but in an era where religion is being put on the back burner for reasonable places to live, earn a living and raising a family, Israel must bring themselves to be the forerunner. A place where religion and reasonable living can coexist.

Jobs

How does Israel expect to attract new immigrants if there is no way to make a living? Israel is on the forefront of Research and Development, Information Technology, Medical Research and many other things. As great as this is, however, not everyone hoping to move to Israel is a Doctor or an Engineer. There are many contractors, plumbers, electricians, store owners and office workers, who would become great citizens of Israel. They would move, go to work, pay their taxes and keep the economy flowing in the local environment and the national environment.

Why are they not being sought after? After all, isn't there a "residential crunch" in many of the major Metropolitan areas? Wouldn't building outwards, filling Israel in the South, North, East and West with families of good, tax paying citizens help Israel, via money and security? I can guarantee that money speaks when security is being discussed. In fact, if Yehuda and Shomron had more tax income producing businesses and business parks in their borders, do you think the government would be so quick to dismantle outposts and relocate their own citizens? Not that there isn't an economy in Yesha, but it is not enough to make the government's ears perk up.

Security

Jew or Non-Jew, in or out of America, every time I speak to someone about Israel and making Aliyah, the most often asked question I get is "Aren't you scared?"

Short answer, yes. Yes I am. Who wouldn't be? All we hear today is the horrible atrocities perpetrated by the PA against Israel and its citizens, which include Muslim Palestinians as well. Who in their right mind would want to have neighbors like that?

Long answer, no. The last few years, Israel's security infrastructure, including the IDF, has earned a bad reputation for lack of training, lack of proper equipment and lack of a true understanding of their enemies. When I read "34 Days: Israel, Hezbollah and the War in Lebanon" by Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, it was almost embarrassing to read the mishaps of the military on such a level.

However, law enforcement agencies worldwide come to train in Israel in anti-terror tactics, the Israeli Air Force is deadly accurate and the IDF, as flawed as many people may make it seem to be, are true warriors fighting for their country. There are mishaps and other very stupid and wrong things done in the Israeli Military (i.e.; Gaza Withdrawal, Second Lebanese War,) but as it is in any country, its not the soldiers, its the leaders.

This subject was brought up because it ties into the first subject, Jobs. A growing economy, citizens producing for the state, so to speak, will bring the security that the country so desperately needs. Money is what makes Israel a viable companion to the USA, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia. The idea that its Democratic leanings is why America backs it is ludicrous. America does business with China, enough said. Israel is a solid partner in economic dealings, its political stances merely sweeten the deal.

Housing
Whether people like to admit it or not, we in the US, have become accustomed to a certain standard of living. In New York, its a little more cramped, on the West Coast, it is a sprawling skyline. In Israel, roughly being the size of the state of New Jersey, has taken the initiative to build up, not out, in many places. Americans for sure, and I am assuming Europeans, are not as accustomed to the living situations in Israel. Maybe if you're from New York.

Although I am a Conservative, I will never call for the destruction of natural spaces for the need of Human beings, but ANWAR needs to be drilled and the Negev and much of the vast open lands of Israel must be populated. The security and the economic tidings of the State depend on it. The stacked living arrangements have gone on long enough, its time to start building single family houses, developments, including apartment buildings and commercial centers, in scarcely populated areas. Israel leads the field in desert living technology and would be able to turn the most desolate areas of the Negev into beautiful oases of communities of Israelis, living and growing, making Israel stronger with each new Oleh or each new birth.

The Israel Agency is not to blame. They are only a small appendage of a bigger problem.

Explaining the Middle East



One of the most fascinating aspects of the Middle East is the history. The Fertile Crescent as some may call it. The birthplace of civilization. We have so much to learn about the history of the Human race. That is exactly what this group is doing.

A conglomeration of Israel, Jordan and even the Palestinian Authority, are working together to help develop an idea of what Israel was like in the Dead Sea region. The findings could help with settlement, disaster relief and the understanding of human's settlement of the region.

You may be asking why this is important. It is important for many reasons:

(1) Its important to understand the settlement, developments and lifestyles of our ancestors in this region because it can further help the development of the third world countries. Arid and Desert communities in Africa, Asia and India can benefit from this research.

(2) The development of technologies and strategies, in Israel and Jordan, can help bring a new industry, and further economic development into the developing countries. Imagine Sudan being a center of agriculture, producing food, not just for their country, but worldwide, all because the information gathered at the Dead Sea. It may sound like a stretch, but this is how countries have developed into the technologically driven age we live in today.

(3) With the understanding of weather patterns, natural disasters and other acts of G-d, we can further develop strategies to decrease the death and destruction in our own societies.

History is to be learned from, not forgotten. The lessons we can learn from the Dead Sea are still a mystery, but it will be extremely exciting to see what information comes from this research.