All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Monday, 31 July 2006

Champagne Time?

You will no doubt be delighted to read that I won’t be posting for a few days as I’m going on a mini break with my mother and the three eldest kids. We will be staying in a nice little seaside resort called Bournemouth (anyone English reading this will know this as being THE place that Jews go to, to get away from it all).

I don’t think that it’s a bad thing that I’m taking a break from posting, granted that I’ve been pretty prolific in the last few weeks…and I’m sure you won’t mind enjoying life a little more, without my ranting to go and spoil your day.

I expect to add my next post on Thursday, which will be the Fast of the Ninth of Av…so I can’t promise to be too joyous (in view of the fact that it’s the saddest day in the Jewish calendar).

Don’t miss me too much, because, as the saying goes: I’ll be back.

Hasta Lavista friends!

Sunday, 30 July 2006

The Truth Behind Kfar Qana



This video shows why Israel had no choice but to bomb Kfar Qana - albeit with tragic results.


Incident in Qana

30 Jul 2006
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

This morning, July 30, 2006, the IAF attacked missile launch sites in the area of the village of Qana, an area from which hundreds of missiles were launched towards the city of Nahariya and the communities in the western Galilee.

The IDF will defend the citizens of Israel from attacks by the Hizbullah and the responsibility for any civilian casualties rests with the Hizbullah who have turned the suburbs of Lebanon into a war front by firing missiles from within civilian areas.

Residents in this region and specifically the residents of Qana were warned several days in advance to leave the village. Eighteen Israeli civilians have been killed and over 400 have been wounded by these rocket attacks which have disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of Israeli citizens.

IDF warned Lebanese citizens to evacuate villages (July 25):

"To all citizens south of the Litani RiverDue to the terror activities being carried out against the State of Israel from within your villages and homes, the IDF is forced to respond immediately against these activities, even within your villages. For your safety! We call upon you to evacuate your villages and move north of the Litani River."

In Vino Veritas

There is a Latin saying “In Vino Veritas”, lit. in wine, there is truth. This is particularly apt in the case of a drunken Mel Gibson, who allegedly (according to TMZ.com) when arrested on Thursday night, unleashed a barrage of anti-semitic and sexist rhetoric at the attending police officers.

I don’t know whether this story is true or not but if it were, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Mr Gibson’s controversial filming of The Passion last year was almost universally panned by Jewish leaders and Rabbis as being an anti-semitic reading of the Gospels and it is well known that Mr Gibson’s father is an acknowledged denier of the Holocaust. As the saying goes, the apple never falls far from the tree.

I have very little time for someone of the ilk of Mel Gibson. I have seen his films and have been pretty unimpressed by his glorification of violence and penchant for “gritty realism”. Whether or not this story is true, Mr Gibson’s statement that “I acted like a person completely out of control when (I was) arrested and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable… I am deeply ashamed of everything I said”, leaves me totally cold.

In Vino Veritas.

Nasrallah's Gift

I’ve just watched a fascinating interview on Israel TV (Channel 10 news) between the presenters of the show and two Israeli Arab journalists.

The topic of discussion revolved around the continued bombings of cities such as Haifa, Nazareth and Acre and how the joint Jewish-Arab populations in those areas, were finding themselves sharing bomb shelters – both facing the very same threat from Nasrallah and his murderers.

This is a subject that I have yet to see discussed on the BBC, SKY or CNN. After all, as the journalists emphasised, a Katyusha doesn’t differentiate between Jew and Arab.

How refreshing to note the sense of unity felt by both parties.

Yes, there are those in Northern Israel who support Hezbollah and many Arabs do feel dual loyalties between both Israel and Lebanon, as their relatives are also caught up in the conflict in the latter. However, what came through, at least to me was the strange irony of Hezbollah, through its psychotic dream of destroying Israel, actually being the cause of rapprochement between our two nations. It is sad though, that it takes missiles to draw us together, but thinking about it, that may be the only way to effect real peace between us.

I also don’t recall the Jewish people in both Israel and abroad being as united as they are right now and if Nasrallah thinks that lobbing flying bombs at our people will break us, he really has no concept of what Jewish history is all about.

Jew and Arab united against Hezbollah. Who would’ve believed it only a month ago?!

Friday, 28 July 2006

Musical Fun

This is one of the pop videos we shot at Alton Towers.

I hope you enjoy it!

A Message To Kofi II

Here’s something to help Kofi digest his breakfast:

From the Ynet website:

“Six days before he was killed in an Israel Air Force bombing of a United Nations post in southern Lebanon, Canadian observer Major Paeta Hess-von Kruendener sent an email to his former commander in the Canadian army, in which he said that Hizbullah fighters were "running around" near the UN post struck by the Israel Defense Forces and that they were using the post as a sort of "shield" against Israel's strikes.

The former commander, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, who served as a UN commander in Bosnia, spoke about the email in a Canadian radio show. He said that Hess-von Kruendener wrote that the IDF strikes near the post had "not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity."

"That would mean Hizbullah was purposely setting up near the UN post," he added. "It's a tactic."

...Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that he did not believe Israel intentionally attacked the UN post:

"I certainly doubt that to be the case. Israel was cooperating with us in our evacuation efforts, in our efforts to move Canadian citizens out of Lebanon," he said. “

Bon Apetit Kofi.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

A Message To Kofi

After Kofi Annan ludicrously claimed that Israel had deliberately targeted the UN post in Lebanon, this is my message to him.

Kofi, you are a moron.

If you honestly believe that Israel is going around targeting your colleagues, you really don’t have a grasp on what is actually going on in the Middle East. You have amply demonstrated once again that you are totally out of your depth.

Why don’t you do us all a favour and hand your job over to someone who demonstrates a modicum of understanding of the situation?

Finally, Kofi, mate, if you’re wondering whether these comments are accidental, please know that they are in fact deliberately aimed at showing you up as the hapless, gormless imbecile that you are.

A Trip To The Tower(s)

I’m exhausted! We took the kids to the wonderful Alton Towers Theme Park, a mere 128 miles away.

We left early (after a few…ahem…hiccups) and got there at around 10.30 – only an hour after the park had opened.

Alton Towers, for those who don’t know, is probably the best amusement park in the country (of course, it pales into insignificance when you compare it to the Disney parks, which I’ve been to, both in Florida and California) in that it’s huge and the rides are pretty cool.

We managed to get through quite a few of the rides but the highlight definitely had to be the kiosk where you could make your own pop DVD.  You sat against a green screen, wearing a green cloak, which made everything invisible on camera – yes, I had that Harry Potter moment - and your head was superimposed onto cartoon bodies, who were dancing along to pop songs.

Dassi, Tali and I chose “La Bamba”, whilst Dana, Shira (who sat beautifully) and Michal (who was very funny throughout) lip synched to “I Will Survive”. The hardest thing was keeping your head “attached” to the cartoon body!

The wonderful thing was also that we were able to take the DVD home with us.

We also had one of those sepia photos taken with the six of dressed in 20’s Gangster gear. The end results looked pretty authentic. I think I would have made a rather excellent gangster.

Aside from that, it was the usual thrills (and a few spills) as we made our way around the park. The girls were also pretty well behaved (particularly on the car journeys), despite the soaring heat and obvious tiredness.

It was a lovely day for all concerned, although I think it will probably take me to the weekend to recover, since we didn’t get home to 10.04 p.m. (there is significance to the 04 bit, I had wanted to get there by 10 and prove to the Sat Nav that its predictions were wrong – damn traffic!)

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

Observations From The Front Line

Notes from Zachary Taylor a soldier in the Nachal Haredi
Unit, sent by his mother.

People jump to conclusions about the Israeli leadership and
their strategies concerning Gaza and Lebanon. First of all,
do not believe anything you read in a foreign newspaper or
even half of the Israeli ones about this current situation.
For example, just a few months ago an Arab Family in Gaza
was killed on a beach. The Palestinians said the Israelis
did the killing, as did international media. After research
it was shown that in no way whatsovever was it an Israeli
bomb that murdered that family, but a bomb that was left by
HAMAS. However, by then, we lost the sympathies of world
media, and Olmert apologized prematurely for something that
Israel did not even do.

In Lebanon, you must understan that Hizbollah is not a
"faction" it is part of the government. As we have seen
lately as the puppet Lebonese government has come out and
declared itself as defenseless aganist Hizbollah. However,
that is not the case. Civilians in Beirut are handing out
cakes and cookies as a celebration of the 8 dead Israeli
soldiers and the two kidnapped ones.

What I have learned in three months of being at checkpoints
is something I call the middle eastern personality which is
common in both Arabs and middle easterners. People who visit
Israel have experienced it here too. It is the attitude that
"I gotta get for me what I can at the expense of almost
everyone else." The expression in Hebrew is to "work"
someone. At the checkpoints people come and cry or claim
they are sick and need to go to the hospital, or have
important meetings, all in an attempt to get us to let them
pass quickly into Israel. Most of the cases are false, and
just the way to "work" or "hustle" the soldiers at the
checkpoint.

Most of this is witnessed by the Women in Black,
who for some reason, believe these stories and only take the
position of the Arabs, never that the soldiers are trying to
protect the citizens of Israel from potential terrorists.
So, the Arab citizens play up these stories to "work" the
hearts and minds of the "human rights" activists and the
media.

These people do not learn through discussion or
compromise because of Middle Eastern culture. Look at the
history now in every Arab country about their ability to
compromise where it be honor killing, jihad terrorism,
constant civil war, pillaging and rape and all the other
cultural riches of the Arab world. It is not within their
mentality which has been nurtured thought history to
compromise civilly. (This does not in any way reflect on all
Muslims or Arabs) However, it is the typical behavior you
witness in the Arab marketplaces in Egypt and Israel If you
have been to these marketplaces, then you will understand
what I am talking about.

Israel is a westernized and Jewish society which is all
about discussion, analysis, and compromise Just look at the
Talmud! What Israel is coming to realize now because of
recent events and "compromises" such as leaving Gaza (while
Israel reaps the rewards of daily punishment by missiles
hitting several major cities such as Ashkelon and Sderot.
Our Jewish naivete is that everyone is nice and perfect and
can be dealt with through diplomacy. This is not true. Our
enemies learn one way and the one and only way is through
the language of war and the language of the sword. We did
not set it up that way, they have. And now, going into
Lebanon and destroying all of Hizbollah and their
infrastructure and their supporters with a firm, unwavering
hand is the only way. We were in Southern Lebanon for 20
years and there was "peace in the North" only when we
"compromised" and pulled out. Our soldiers are getting
kidnapped and missiles now fall on Haifa.

Now you have to understand the Arab guerilla tactics, both
Palestinian and Lebanese. They never fight in a battle field
like a normal army. They retreat to civilian villages and
cities and hide their until they poke their nose out of some
window and shoot some anti tank or aircraft missile.

So for defense, and I say DEFENSE forces, to succeed they must
battle them even if they are in civilian territory.
Again, We did not decide that, they did. So when civilians are killed
unintentionally it is because THEY decided that it should be
that way.

The world is full of naive bleeding hearts that will bash
Israel for doing what it has been FORCED to do. They forget
the fact that when soldier go into an Arab town for the sole
purpose of finding a group of terrorists, the "civilians"
are suddenly not so civil. They have guns, they throw
Molotov cocktails, and rocks, big large cement blocks at
soldiers. That is what we experience everyday in Gaza, the
West Bank and Lebanon.

We are fighting a guerilla and civilian army at ALL times.
Suicide bombers are not part of an army they are civilians.
There has never been a war fought like this in the history of humankind.
But the "lefties" and even some on the right and the people who are
not even connected and oblivious, including the international community
think they have the right to tell Israel how to act, how to respond!

Do you know why so many soldiers die in the West Bank,
Gaza and Lebanon?

Not because the enemy's army is better, they are not even close to the
IDF. We have better equipment, more equipment, better
training, so how is it that soldiers are kidnapped and
killed? That's a good question. It is because the left and
the international community is keeping such a close look,
and bias toward Israel's defense tactics, that are hands are
tied in defending ourselves properly. We take so many
dangerous steps in order to protect civilians, that in
return, we are killed and kidnapped.

Did you know that at the Lebanon Border for the last ten years,
because of "International" pressure, that if you see 500 Hizbollah
terrorists with AK47's and rocket launchers and missiles
coming up to the actual border fence, 50 feet from the
Israel soldiers, 50 feet from Israel's soil, that the IDF
cannot fire unless they fire first! They can aim, set up
shop 50 feet from you, but until they fire and shoot at you,
the Israeli soldiers cannot defend themselves. Is that
logical? No, it is insane. The only reason why so many
Israeli's both civilian and military are dying is explicitly
the fault of the International Leftist agenda. The Left
likes to see the minority win, even if it is Hamas and
Hezbollah. We can only defend ourselves the way of the
sword. Do not let anyone tell you anything differently. As I
and the other soldiers and Israeli citizens have personal
stakes in the matter, and as a supporter of the Jewish
homeland, you do too.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Zachary Rowen Taylor,
20 years old.
(Zacharia Ben Abraham)
Nachal Haredi Unit, Beit Shean, July 16, 2006

Funny

Quantas Airlines

Remember it takes a college degree to fly a plane but only a high school
diploma to fix one. After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.
P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny. (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

PM Olmert's Address To Supporters



Please click here to see the above broadcast.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Lightening The Mood A Little...

(TheBlueState.com) Bush too concerned with his pig dinner




This is quite funny

Stoopid

Here’s a short straw poll.

Is the Iranian President…

a) just plain stupid?
b) extraordinarily stupid?
c) really clever but pretending to be stupid?
d) really stupid and not clever enough to pretend to be stupid?
e) neither of the above. He’s just a moron with a lot of power?

Feel free to add any additional comments (he wouldn’t understand them anyway).

Fighting For The Truth

I want to use this post to debunk some of the distortions that are appearing in the world's media (particularly the BBC) right now:

Israel's response is disproportionate

Let's consider the situation. Israel is the only democracy in a sea of twenty two Arab dictatorships. She left Lebanon six years ago and Gaza, last August.

She has no issue with either Lebanon and Gaza. Yet, terrorists from Gaza have spent the last eleven months shelling the residents of Sderot (and lately Ashkelon) with thousands of Qassam missiles. These are not the "crude" devices depicted by the media, but deadly flying bombs. The fact that but a few people have thankfully been killed in attacks, does not minimise how dangerous the missiles really are.

Despite the constant provocation, Israel (until very recently) did very little to fight back. If anything is disproportionate, it is Hamas almost ceaseless firing of these missiles from Gaza onto the citizens of Sderot and the damage these so called "crude" devices cause.




This is the ceiling in a child's bedroom after such an attack:



Remember, citizens of Israel have been fired on from inside Gaza - the area that Israel completely evacuated last year.

On the northern front, despite Israel's quitting Lebanon (and following the U.N's mandate to the letter) six years ago, Hezbollah have launched over a thousand rockets into the country:



So, you've got a situation where Israel, who has not invaded anyone, is being bombarded by rockets on two fronts.

And some people have the nerve to complain that the country's response is disproportionate? What would you want your country to do if you were confined to a bomb shelter because you and your fellow citizens were being constantly bombed? What choice has Israel got, but to fight back and destroy the threat? Diplomacy, as we have seen is laughed at and the UN observers are very good at observing missiles flying over their hands into Israel - and doing nothing else.

Israel is targeting civilians

We have all seen the terrible and tragic images of Lebanese men, women and children being wounded and killed in the Israeli bombardment. This has led some to surmise that Israel is deliberately targeting these people. In fact, the reality could not be further from the truth.

Whereas Hezbollah's stated aim is wipe out the State of Israel and they have been shelling civilians in the north of the country to prove their point, Israel has gone out of its way to warn the Lebanese (i.e by dropping leaflets and making Arabic broadcasts) to leave the war zone and head north.

You have to remember that Hezbollah, a recognised terrorist organisation, has created a state within a state (including its own army) and is ruling Lebanon, under direct instructions from Iran and Syria, who are supplying their weaponry. For years, they have been persecuting the Lebanese (in particular the Maronite Christians) and stemming the economic growth within the country. Were it not for this group, there would have been peace between Lebanon and Israel by now. In short, they rule by the fear and violence.

Hezbollah, like Hamas, cynically uses the properties and houses of frightened citizens to store their weapons and fire on Israeli civilians (and the Army) from these populated areas, without any regard to the danger in which they are putting their so called "hosts", by doing so. If you were Lebanese, you would be forced to store missiles in your living room, or under your house.

Tragically, mistakes have been made by the Israeli army and air force and civilians have been killed in their homes and cars. However, this is not a small conflagration (as described in the media) but a war in which Israel is doing what she must do, to protect her citizens.

To claim that Israel is targeting civilians is to play into the cruel hands of the Hezbollah. If anyone is culpable for the murder (as opposed to manslaughter) of the Lebanese, it is the Hezbollah and certainly not Israel.


Israel has territorial claims on both Lebanon and Gaza

Israel has been unwittingly dragged into this war. She neither needs nor wants it, but now that she is fighting, she must win as it will send a very clear message to both Iran and Syria (the true perpetrators) that they will not vanquish the State of Israel and that the their vision of establishing a Shiite Kingdom from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean is but a dream.

The war that Israel is fighting is no different than that going on in other parts of the world, including cities such as London, New York, Madrid, Bali and Mumbai. Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Quida are all unified in one goal and that is to destroy Western liberal civilisation.

Anyone who actually believes that Hezbollah would not carry out its evil machinations in other countries, were it given the chance, is really living in cloud-cuckoo land.

I hope that this post has done it's bit to shatter some of the myths that are being propagated by the media and some naive politicians. Israel is fighting a war against Islamic fundamentalism and if only for selfish motives, we must give her every ounce of support that we can.

The minute we start siding with the so called victims (i.e the 'poor' Palestinians, who strap explosive belts to their waists or the some of the Lebanese citizens who very happy to espouse Hezbollah's fascist cause), we assist them in their perverted aim

- to destroy OUR way of life and at the end of the day

- to destroy US.


Sunday, 23 July 2006

YES TO PEACE - NO TO TERROR

I've just come back from a rally, where an estimated 7,000 people, mostly British Jews like me, showed solidarity with our brethren, the people of Israel (I'm on the left in the picture, with my very good friend A. on the right).

Although the speeches were stirring, with the message that we want peace but not at the price of terror, the definite highlight was a live video link with members of a number of Jewish communities whom we saw sitting in a bomb shelter in Shlomi, Northern Israel. We waved at the children and they waved at back at us. At one point, we all sang a song together and for just a few minutes, we too were there in Israel, facing the very same threats and fears from the skies above.

For me, the most important part of being there was showing those kids and their parents that although they felt very much alone, we fellow Jews, 2000 or so miles away were there to support them and give chizuk (strength) to get through this terrible period.

Life for these folk who are spending day after day in bomb shelters, is not in any way easy. There are countless hours of boredom and frustration, and additionally, they also have to also cope with the oppresive heat (many of the shelters don't have air con). Knowing that we helped alleviate their misery, if only for half-an-hour or so, makes me feel extraordinarily proud to be Jewish.

I'm so happy I went. It's a great feeling to be part of such a special nation, especially during challenging times like these.

Haifa - July 2006

Please click on the link and "open" before and after the first slide. You will then be able to see the show in its entirety online. Alternatively, you can save it to your pc.

Now We Know

I received this from here:

"IRAN PLANNED HIZBULLAH STRIKE
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Iran spent more than six months training and planning Hizbullah to prepare for its current war with Israel.
Western intelligence sources said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps held a series of exercises with Hizbullah on the use of new weapons and techniques. The sources said IRGC also prepared arsenals of medium-range rockets and missiles in the Bekaa Valley and Syria to sustain any war with Israel.

"Iran's IRGC planned this war carefully throughout 2006," an intelligence source who monitors Iran said. "IRGC sent weapons and hundreds of volunteers through Damascus in a war designed to contain several stages."

The sources said Western intelligence agencies detected a high level of IRGC-Hizbullah coordination as early as April 2006. They said the Hizbullah conflict was planned in cooperation with Damascus, which agreed to the emergency deployment of Iranian troops in Syria. "


If you recall, I suggested an Iranian link exactly a week ago in the Solutions post.

This Teacher...Is Cool

Dana has very kindly suggested that I take a few days for myself over the holiday (we broke up on Thursday….way-hay!!!) and so I’ve decided to go somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time – the City of Liverpool.

Yup, my friend S. and I are going on a Beatles’ themed trip to the famed city in the third week of August. So far, I’ve booked accommodation, two tickets for the two hour long Magical Mystery Tour coach extragavanza and I’m waiting to get places on the National Trust trip to John and Paul’s respective houses.

I’m so excited!

Additionally, we will have to ensure that we take a ferry (a)cross the Mersey, as well as visiting all the other places (the rebuilt Cavern for example).

I’ve told S. that this is going to be a seriously ‘Beatley’ few days…I just hope that he won’t come back absolutely hating the fab four.

We love you yeah yeah yeah!

Thursday, 20 July 2006

The Cough

A little joke to lighten the mood somewhat...

It was bitter cold outside and flu season had kicked in. The Rabbi
was not happy with the constant coughing disturbing his sermons,
so he decided to call on old Abe to help him solve the problem.

Comes the next Saturday morning, the Rabbi gave old Abe a bowl
of cough drops and instructions to give a cough drop to any
congregation member who began coughing.

So following his Rabbi's orders, every time a member coughed,
old Abe walked over and gave them a cough drop.

The Rabbi noticed that each time he did this, the member then
stood up and walked out on the sermon. At the end of the service,
half of the members were gone.

After services the Rabbi calls old Abe at home and asked what he
said to the members that made them leave the building.

Old Abe says, "So vat did I say ? ... All that I said wuz,
'the Rabbi said for cough!'"


An Open Letter To The World

I was sent this email and had to share it with you. I don’t know who wrote it, but I wish it had been me as it expresses exactly how I feel about the reaction of many people (including some I’ve spoken to) to the current situation:


“AN OPEN LETTER TO THE WORLD


Dear World, I understand that you are upset by us, here in Israel.

Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry. (Outraged?)

Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset by us. Today, it is the "brutal repression of the Palestinians"; yesterday it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War and the Sinai campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most extraordinarily.

Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we - the Jewish people - upset you.

We upset a German people who elected Hitler and upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians. And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset.

We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us.

For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions, and we upset the arch-enemy of the church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Jewish state. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you and disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you (and thus love you)- and have you love us and so, we decided to come home - home to the same land we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please.

Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state, we continue to upset you. You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East

Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The "radical" Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset.

Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel.

In 1920 and 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered tens of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron.Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron in 1929.

Dear world, why did the Arabs - the Palestinians - massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929? Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots between 1936-39? Was it because Arabs were upset over 1967?

And when you, dear world, proposed a UN Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a "Palestinian State" alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried "no" and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews - was that "upset" caused by the aggression of 1967? And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of "upset" then?

The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who ­ when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state -attempted to drive the Jewish state into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of "itbach-al-yahud" (Massacre the Jew!) that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today, but we should not "repress" them.

Dear world, you stood by during the holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres.

You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction.

And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians dream daily of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. If that bothers you, dear world, well ­ think of how many times in the past you bothered us.

In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less”

Goodbye To The NQT

School has finally broken up for the summer and I have now taught for three full terms. As I drove away this afternoon, I thought about the fact that today is my very last as an NQT (newly qualified teacher).

How does it feel? Bloody marvellous because I have finished my initial teacher training (we never stop training!). The course that I began back in September 2004 is now finally, finally over.

I know that this is only the beginning of my career, but it feels pretty damn good to have passed both stages of my training successfully. When I go back to school in September, I will be a teacher who is starting his second year in the profession. I know that more will be expected of me and I'm fine with that, but it is so satisfying to know that there is no longer a chance ( as remote as it seemed) that I could fail to qualify as a professional teacher. I've done it. I have satisfied the Government's requirements and met the standards expected by the body who determines my entry into the teaching profession.

In other words, I have waited almost two years to get to this point and the sense of achievement I feel is wonderful.

At long last - I made it through.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Pity The Lebanese

I am someone who cares deeply about people. I couldn’t work as a teacher if I felt ambivalent about my fellow human beings. When I teach, the only thing I care about is the overall success of my students. I honestly don’t care whether they are white, black, brown, green, yellow, purple or blue (well, that’s not quite true. If they were either purple or blue, I’d get medical help ASAP).

I teach kids whose religions and cultural background are derived from the four corners of the globe. It matters not a jot whether a child is Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Shinto, Rastafarian or even atheist. I judge them on the attitude they present to their work and the behaviour they display in my classroom and throughout the rest of the school.

I write this because there are some of you who might be wondering how I feel about the deaths of numerous Lebanese civilians are as result of Israeli bombing.

As an a person who has a strong belief in G-d and an innate sense of justice, I am aghast at the sad reality of women and children (in particular), being killed for simply residing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If I could personally airlift every single innocent civilian out of the war zone, I would do so. I also know that Israel - a moral and just nation – is similarly horrified whenever a terrible and tragic mistake is made. Yet another innocent person pays the heavy price of being manipulated and used by the ruthless and bloodthirsty Hezbollah terrorists.

These individuals deliberately and cynically use homes and rooms belonging to the civilian population as a base from which to launch their rockets against both the Israeli Army and the citizens of Israel.

Note that the Terrorists make no distinction as to whom they target, as witnessed by the deaths of two Israelis in Haifa today.

Two Israeli Arab children.

When Israel fights, she does so in the open, away from the population centres and makes every effort to try and hit the terrorists and only the combatants. Often, it is impossible to take one of these out, without sacrificing the life of an innocent civilian or three.

A few days ago, Israel had the opportunity to finish off the killer that is Nasrallah. They chose to warn the Beirutis of an impending attack on the General Command building and a result, this most evil of men escaped and is now living like a scared rat, amongst the Christian Arabs in Northern Lebanon. Like Saddam, he’s not afraid to threaten Israel with “retaliation of a magnitude not seen before”, but when it comes to it, he hasn’t got the guts to stand up in the open and fight for his cause.

This is a war that Israel must win to ensure that her people are protected from the scourge of the rockets. It is also a tragedy that the innocent citizens of both Lebanon and Israel are being caught up in the conflict.

Look beyond the screaming headlines and you will see that the “humanitarian crisis” began long before Israel started firing.

Hezbollah has blood on its hands – and it’s not all Israeli.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Melting Classrooms!

It’s been a long, tough, sweltering day.

Temperatures outside have been 31 degrees (that’s 90 F to you Yanks) and I would imagine they were at least a degree hotter in the computer rooms where I taught on my most challenging day of the week - all five periods without a single free lesson.

The kids, knowing that they were two days away from the summer break were all over the place. Saying that, I did get some work out of them and learning did take place, so I really shouldn’t complain.

Another one-and-a-half school days and it’s all over and then, I look forward to enjoying the heat…

…dressed in only a pair of shorts and a vest!

Never A Truer Word

If the Arabs had no guns, there would be no war.
If the Israelis had no guns, there would be no Israel.

Your Little Bit

This is a little request I’d like to ask of you.

Could you spend three minutes to send a letter of support to the young (and sometimes not so young) Israeli boys and girls who are risking their lives to protect their fellow citizens - Jews, Christians and Muslims.

1. Click on this link: http://www.supportben.com/

2. Write a brief message of support

3. Know that someone in a difficult situation will benefit greatly fromyour words of support

Thank you so much.

Monday, 17 July 2006

For Everything Else...

Getting the terrorists to stop bombing Israel…..difficult but feasible

Solving this current crisis…..challenging but possible

Hearing George W Bush saying that the solution will be found by getting (the UN to pressure) 'Syria to get Hizbullah to stop doing this shit'...

PRICELESS!

Superb Website

Thanks to a recommendation from my good friend, J, I’ve come across a fascinating website which explains the Middle East conflict using startling (flash) animations.

To get there, please click here.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Solutions II

Further to my last posting, I point you to this website which sheds some more light on Iran’s involvement in this latest flare-up.

Solutions

I couldn't face the prospect of being cut off from hearing the latest developments during the twenty-five hour period that comprised of Shabbat.

What to do as Jewish law prohibits me from operating an electronic device (such as a computer) on the Sabbath.

I decided to think laterally and streamed Israel Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) through the speakers, with my screen switched off. The computer therefore took on the role of a radio - there is no prohibition in listening to the radio on the Sabbath.

I heard the latest news reports and although my mastery of Hebrew is not 100%, I understood enough to get the gist of what was going on. I also made sure that my dictionary was close at hand, though virtually every word I looked up and learned was connected with the concept of war!

I am now firmly of the opinion that this whole episode (starting with the abduction of Cpl. Shalit) was engineered by Iran to take the world's attention off the nuclear issue. If you follow the Gaza/Lebanese story in conjuction with the UN's ongoing investigation into the reactors, you can see that the crisis began as Iran was being put under intense pressure to reply to the draft incentives, designed to suspend it's uranium enrichment programme. Additionally, the G8 summit would no doubt have focussed on the very same issue. It is therefore not coincidental that both Hamas and Hezbollah have chosen this time to start a conflageration by kidnapping Israeli soldiers.

I'm sure that if I've worked this out, so have the Israelis. One thing we all agree on, is that Israel must keep the military operations short, so as to ensure that they don't get stuck in either Lebanon or Gaza for a long period of time. The main objectives are to get the soldiers back and at the same time, to destroy the arsenals of Kassam and Katyusha missiles.

I hope the solutions are as easy as my figuring out how to hear the latest news updates, from two thousand miles away.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Good News (Again)

A while back I trumpeted my success at having finally completed my NQT (newly qualified teacher) year, however, I didn't realise that I had in fact only passed the second stage of the process.

Today, I received the paperwork, signed by the Head, confirming that I have now successfully completed the third and final assessment period of the "NQT Induction Assessment".

The comment at the bottom of the sheet reads:

"Recommendation:
The school recommends that the above named teacher has met the requirements for the satisfactory completion of the induction period".

So, thanks again for the previous comments...and I can set the record straight as I really am an officially fully qualified teacher!

Thursday, 13 July 2006

A Word Of Warning

Reading the latest entries on this site, you could be forgiven for wondering whether I've been doing any teaching. The answer is yes I have, but somehow, with all the terrible news emanating from Israel - the country which is home to my heart and mind, teaching seems all that more unimportant in the overall scheme of things.

I've just heard that Haifa, the third largest city has been struck by two Katyusha rockets. This is yet another milestone in the escalation of the situation. I expect that Israel's response will be to start shelling Damascus, which is only 40 km away from the Israeli border. Assad will then have the choice of either reining in the terrorists and get our boys released or facing the wrath of really really pissed Israel.

Today, places that I have visited and grown to love, like Tzfat, have endured rocket attacks. It breaks my heart to see my country under siege and I sincerely hope Israel gives a response that reminds the Arab world of who they are starting with.

We are not an aggressive nation, irrespective of how we're portrated by the media, but if someone starts with us, we will beat the crap out them.

We Jews have five thousand years of history behind us and we ain't going anywhere. We outlived the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. We survived the Nazis and the Communists. We will also be around long after the Islamic terrorists are but a nasty blip in the history of the world.

A word of warning: Don't f*** with my people.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The Next Victim...You?

The situation in Israel has now escalated to an extremely precarious level. The country is being attacked on two fronts, with terrorist operations no doubt sourced in Syria. The two problematic territories that Israel left (Lebanon and Gaza) are coming back to haunt her as terrorists are entering the country and kidnapping her citizens.

Israel must deal with the situation at hand immediately. I’m afraid that innocent civilians will no doubt be killed, but unless drastic action is taken to sort this situation out, Hamas/Hezbollah/Islamic Jihad/Al Qaeda et al will continue with a very dangerous development in their quest to kill off as many people as they can

Keep in mind the simple fact that whatever starts in Israel is replicated around the globe. In the same way that airplane hijackings and suicide bombings have spread around the world in the last thirty years or so, so I fear it will be the case with kidnappings. It is therefore in the interests of every human being who values his or her life, that Israel continues to fight these Nazis and that she also receives as much support from the rest of the world as is possible.

For those of you who criticize Israel for her “harsh” and “unproportional” response, just remember that one of those Israeli soldiers could very well be your son or daughter. One of your children could have been a passenger on one of the trains in Mumbai yesterday morning – or indeed, a tragic victim of July 7th 2005.

Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda are exactly the same and if you honestly think that the situation will be sorted out when Israel moves out of the West Bank, be mindful that these kidnappings and this mess is emanating from areas where Israel is not in situ.

The terrorists don’t consider liberals or conservatives when they plan their operations. If you are Jewish, Christian, Hindu and yes, even Muslim, you are seen as a valid target…

… irrespective of how sorry you feel for the “poor Palestinians”.

Wisdom-Less II

I’m delighted to report that your vibes must have done the trick because Dana was back home last night, looking great (albeit with a rather painful jaw).

In short, the operation was a complete success and my nerves are beginning to re-connect.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Wisdom-less

Dana's having her lower wisdom teeth removed and so I'm off work for two days, to take care of the kids (when they're not in school!)

She's going to be sedated, which can't be fun, but I know that with her temperament, she'll bounce back ASAP. So if you're reading this around lunchtime (GMT) on Tuesday 11th July, please send her some scorchingly hot vibes to help soothe what will undoubtably be a pretty unpleasant experience.

Monday, 10 July 2006

My Date With Billy

Back in 1998, I had a date with Billy Joel. At the time, he was doubling up with Elton John on a joint tour of two piano men doing their thing.

I turned up, expecting to hear the Man, but he failed to show, citing a particularly nasty chest infection. I obviously didn't exactly hold it against him, granted that I was treated to three hours of what could be arguably cited as being Elton's best concert in twenty-five years - but Mr Joel was certainly missed. Elton did sing Piano Man, but, hey, it just wasn't the same without Bill.

Tonight, I turned up for our second date and thankfully, this time, he made it. He apologised to the crowd for not keeping their date either (damn, he must have been cheating on me) but certainly made up for the wait with an absolutely blinding concert.

Where can I begin piling on the plaudits? His renditions of Just The Way You Are, Innocent Man, She's Always A Woman, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant were note perfect and dreamlike. He rocked, he rolled and most of all had a wonderful time, taking us all along with him for the entire ride. His self-deprecating humour, magnetic charm and general bonhomie made it feel as though we were all sharing his most intimate moments. In short, it was one of the best concerts I ever attended - and I've gone to a fair number in my time. I've never known two-and-a-half hours to disappear so rapidly.

Most importantly, Dana had a fabulous evening (granted that the last time, she was heavily pregnant with Tali and can't have felt that great after three hours of Elton...no offence!) and that was the icing on the cake.

The Piano Man has not lost his touch....and I can honestly say that our second date was a roaring success.

This was the setlist:

Angry Young Man
My Life
Everybody Loves You Now
The Entertainer
Just The Way You Are
Zanzibar
Miami 2017
New York State Of Mind
The Downeaster Alexa
She's Always A Woman
Don't Ask Me Why
Allentown
Movin' Out
Keeping The Faith
Spanish Harlem/Stand By Me/An Innocent Man
Uptown Girl
The River Of DreamsHighway
To Hell (Chainsaw - his roadie!)
We Didn't Start The Fire
Big Shot
It's Still Rock'N'Roll To Me
You May Be Right

Encore:
Only The Good Die Young
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Piano Man

Billy Joel....man, you rock!

Real Politics

I’ve just watched a fascinating debate on an Israeli breakfast show. The participants consisted of the presenters and two members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, a Jew and an Arab.

The topic of discussion centred on the allegations that another Arab member of parliament advised the Hamas terrorists to kidnap Israeli soldiers instead of civilians. I am not going to comment on whether or not I believe these allegations to be true, however, one thing that did strike me was the fact that in the State of Israel, irrespective of your religion and background, you are never barred from becoming a member of the country’s parliament.

I have yet to see a similar debate in any Arab country, where Jews are forbidden from taking public office (if they are allowed to live in the country at all). Yet, despite all of the above, there are still a considerable number of people out there, who have the nerve to accuse Israel of being an Apartheid state.

Judging from what I saw this morning, nothing can be farther from the truth. The very fact that such a debate could even take place attests to what really goes on in the State of Israel. I suggest the Apartheid supporters take a moment to look at http://www.extratv.co.nr/ and click on one of the numerous links to the Israeli TV stations listed therein.

You don’t need to understand Hebrew to see a Jew and an Arab sitting next to one another in a TV studio, giving each other the time to present their respective arguments.

Sunday, 9 July 2006

2006 World Cup Winners

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss!

It's also probably best that we don't try to understand what was going through Zidane's mind in that unforgettable moment. Disgraceful behaviour, to say the very least.

Go Italia Go!

The World Cup Final is virtually upon us and my hopes are firmly nailed on the Italians beating the French by whatever score it takes.

I will back any country that gives the bloody French a good licking.

I fear though that les francais will win in the end and use it as yet another excuse to display their obnoxious arrogance to the rest of the world.

Then again, you never know...

Go Italia...go!!!

New Baby

Congratulations to my brother/sister in-law on the birth of a baby son, Noah, this morning.

Finally my in-laws have a grandson (it takes the heat off of us for a while).

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Breaking My Silence

You might have noticed that I’ve been unusually tight-lipped about the ongoing situation in Gaza. For those of you who’ve been visiting the site for a while, you will know that I’m not one to withhold my views on Israel.

So why the reticence to comment?

I think that I’ll put it down to gaining wisdom over the years.

A cursory glance at the media shows me that too many journalists are all too happy to go around like a bull in a china shop and pretend that they understand what is going on in the Middle East. The minute Israel raises her head, they are in there, criticizing and in my opinion, demonstrating that they don’t have the foggiest notion of what is actually going on in the region.

In the past, I too have fallen into that trap…hence my tardiness, if you would have in, in adding my two cents, for what it’s worth.

Looking at the situation, calmly and with reason, I have come to a number of conclusions:


Israel is 100% right to do what she is doing. This is not just about the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier – much more is going on. In the months following the disengagement from Gaza, the Palestinian terrorists have been doing what they can to provoke Israel, by constantly firing Kassam rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. Israel has held her cool and resisted the temptation to go into Gaza and sort the problem out. The Palestinians therefore upped the game by resorting to kidnapping. Israel therefore had no option but to take harsh measures to stem the spiralling situation. In short, they need to get the message across to the terrorists that the crap is going to stop and it’s going to stop now.



Israel is being extraordinarily careful to avoid civilian casualties and has not stopped humanitarian aid from entering or leaving Gaza. Even the Red Cross testifies to this even-handedness.



Hamas is involved in an internal struggle, between the so-called moderates (as exemplified by the chairman, Ismail Hanniya) and the extremists, who are getting their orders from Khaled Mashaal in Syria, via Iran. In truth, there is very little between both groups, except the notion that the “moderates” are fully aware that kidnapping Israelis will not help them in their “struggle”.



Israel needs to justify her disengagement from Gaza by assuring her citizens that they can live safely inside the boundaries of the Green Line. The latest escalation, with rockets landing in the streets of Ashkelon, only reinforces the belief that the Palestinians can’t be trusted and that any settlements inside Judea and Samaria can never be given up for security reasons. If the Israelis don’t sort Gaza out, Olmert and his grandiose plans for unilateral disengagement from other territories won’t stand a chance of ever coming to fruition.

There are those who will argue that the Israelis are being “heavy handed”. I hope that the aforementioned arguments have amply explained why this operation needs to be carried out. In short, from every logical angle, Israel has no choice but to go back into Gaza, hopefully, for a very short period of time.

There, I've laid my cards on the table.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

A Message For Mum, Bryna Rouge


It was my mother’s birthday on 26th June and as she was away for a few days and impossible to contact, neither Dana, I, nor the kids sent her a card. This wasn’t because we don’t love or value her, it’s just that we believed it didn’t make sense to send her something that she would only get when she returned – nearly a week after her birthday.  

We spoke before she left to wish her a happy birthday but since she’s returned, it’s been mentioned a few times that she is disappointed at not having received a card.

We know you read this mum, and we’re very sorry for upsetting you. You shouldn’t need a birthday card to realise how much we love you and appreciate everything you do for us on a continuous basis. We’re sorry we didn’t send you a birthday card but it doesn’t mean that we weren’t thinking of you on that day or any other.

We sincerely love you very very much.
We should have sent you a card and we won’t forget next year.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

A Message From Across The Pond

If you are a citizen of the second greatest country in the world (after Israel)….Happy Independence Day!

Monday, 3 July 2006

So True!

Teaching On The Fly

I was back in school and the network was down. It therefore allowed me to experience the sensation of teaching by the seat of your pants, or as I called it this afternoon, “teaching on the fly”.

This is the way it works:

You walk into a classroom; look at twenty five eager students; metaphorically shit yourself worrying how you’re going to fill the next fifty-eight minutes and think fast. Very, very fast.

In the end, I got them to design a logo on a piece of paper that I told them should be a representation of one of their attributes/character traits. When they’d done that (I was seriously making this up as I went along), they had to swap their designs with their neighbour and find out whether that person could work out who they were, from the logo.

I then went around the class and asked each person to describe his/her neighbour using the logo.

I don’t know how educational it was, but it took up much of the lesson, even though the kids had lost interest by the third student.

It was boiling hot in the room and it felt too much like hard work, so tomorrow, the little darlings are getting a word-search because there’s only so much flying I can be bothered to do in a classroom that was probably around the 32 degrees Celsius mark this afternoon.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Nervous Compacency

I'm really not quite sure how to prepare for tomorrow's return to teaching:

The classes will be new.
My timetable is completely different.
I don't know how many computers are working.
I have no idea whether there will be enough computers for the kids I'll be teaching.

Maybe, I should just close my eyes and go with the flow, because the alternative really doesn't bear thinking about.