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Showing posts from December, 2011

Sanity In Bet Shemesh

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While the entire world is hearing about the "darker" side of Bet Shemesh we would like to tell (or remind) you about a sparkling gem in the midst of our city.

Lema'an Achai. Smart Chesed.

For over 11 years Lema'an Achai has been the voice of reason and sanity providing the tools to build better and brighter futures.

Lema'an Achai helps ALL those in crisis. Men and Women. Religious and not so religious. Ashkenazi and Sefardi. Young and old.

Poverty and hardship don't discriminate. Nor do we.

You can be a partner in our amazing work that has changed hundreds of lives for the better.

As we conclude this tax year please consider a generous tax deductible donation to help strengthen Lema'an Achai, a bastion of sanity that unites Jews from all stripes for the common goal of helping others in need.

Please visit our website at www.smartchesed.org . Take a look around and donate generously. Share this message with your friends. Everyone should know of the beauty o…

New Driving Regulations In Israel...

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Humour, well used, is the sharpest weapon.

Proportionality in Bet Shemesh

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I was contacted yesterday to ask if I would be willing to participate in a BBC panel of Beit Shemesh residents, to discuss the situation at Orot Banot.
When the Israel Defence Forces undertake operations against terror groups, Israel’s critics throw the word “disproportionate” into their (knee-jerk) condemnations.
As in: The top UN human rights official says Israel's military response to the firing of rockets at its territory by Palestinian militants is "disproportionate."
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3645919,00.html
Here in Beit Shemesh, the dispute between the ultra-orthodox “Sikrikim” and the Orot Banot school, has indisputably become the main news-story in Israel.
Whereas the news abroad is full of human-interest stories, here in Israel's corner of the Middle East we’ve got existential threats from Iran's Nuclear bomb, the Syrian civil-war, Islamic Fundamentalists elected to power in Egypt, Hamas joining with the PLO… Some reasonably serious new…

Fatal Beating

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I rediscovered this gem of Rowan Atkinson.
As a graduate of two English boarding schools, I can relate...

Given the situation in some talmudei torah (chedarim), perhaps this sketch would go over better in Yiddish?

("Mild" bad language warning).

A Law Unto Themselves

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The battle since the start of this school year, for OrotBanotSchool, has reached national status.
8 year old American olah, Naama Margolies, from Beit Shemesh, has become a national icon, due to a Channel Two News report aired this Saturday night.
Naama explains how scared she is to travel the 300 metres from her home to school. And, in front of the cameras, and in spite of her mother’s words of encouragement, Naama refuses to walk there.
Naama is clearly traumatized by the protesting Sikrikim (extremist chareidim) who have demonstrated outside Orot Banot modern-orthodox girls school for the past half-year. The demonstrators reportedly scream insults ("whores!""shikses!"), spit and throw various objects at the young school girls. 
Her mother explains that, although her family is orthodox, in the eyes of the kanoim, they are not.
The report continues by interviewing a chareidi-from-the-street (in his car) who justifies and apparently agrees with attacks on 7 yea…

Mindless Hooliganism or Pre-Emptive Strike?

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The incursion Monday night by dozens of 'settler' youth into the Ephraim Army Base in Samaria has received severe condemnation across the political spectrum.
In the course of the incursion, it has been reported that IDF vehicles were vandalized; tyres were set on fire; subsequently base commander, Col. Ran Kahane, was attacked in his car and lightly wounded (Later Note: although this "injury" seems to have been denied now by the IDF spokesman).
The condemnations have come from Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Barak, right wing MK's, rabbonim and settler leaders, such as Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan.     
This incursion follows a series of aggressive acts, allegedly carried out by "settlers" as a part of "Tag Mechir" (Price Tag) policies. These include setting fire to a carpet in a mosque, a previous incursion into an army base (damage to vehicles), and graffiti scrawlings on the homes of left wing activists.
These acts have been wid…

Burkas and Bikinis

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This YouTube video shows an interview of a "Talibanit" lady, sporting her burka, a full head covering veil; the interview is apparently conducted by her husband.
The husband asks his wife several questions about why she wears a full-face veil and multiple layers of clothing, the response of people in the street, and how she responds to critics, from the secular through to the ultra-orthodox?
The lady replies that she wears this non-standard dress in order to be more modest, and in imitation of women (both Jewish and non-Jewish) from previous eras, including the Mothers of the Jewish people, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel.
She explains that whereas many people encourage her in this, she experiences particular hostility in the ultra-orthodox neighborhoods, such as Meah Shearim in Jerusalem.
She claims that she has been spat upon, people have tried to forcibly remove her veil, and she has even had rocks thrown at her.
The lady declares her love and acceptance of all Jewish wo…

Sexist General or Funny Joke?

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Here's Israel's Joke of The Day:

Observing some army field excercises, Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak, asks IDF's Chief of Staff Benny Ganz: "What are those chayalot/women soldiers doing over there?"

Ganz leans over to Barak and says: "Singing".

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Hmmm. I guess you had to have been there.

As indeed were some news crews.

Benny Ganz joke was caught on tape, aired and created something of a storm.

Ganz was referring to a recent controversy about whether or not chayalot should entertain troops, in particular religiously observant soldiers, some of whom object to hearing women singers on religious modesty grounds ("kol isha").

In that context, it's quite a clever and funny quip. Yes, I admit it, I giggled.

However, given that even Hilary Clinton has recently joined the criticism of chareidi gender segregation policies in Israel, (although interestingly enough, not the same practices in Hilary's own back yard, in ultra-orthodox commun…

Absurd Finger Pointing By Clinton & Panetta

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Recent statements by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have finger-pointed at Israel about the stuck-in-the-mud status of the "Peace" Process with the Palestinians, criticized Israel for not having made-up with Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, as well as undermining the practicality of an Israeli or US first-strike on Iran.
I noticed this week a tucked-away article in Israel Defense magazine, interviewing Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon, Minister of Strategic Affairs, in which the interviewer notes that the preparation and publication of the IDF 5-year plan, has been delayed from 2012, to 2013. Yaalon says: "It is a long process which requires an entire year. It is now being revised in light of changes in the region…"
Each of the issues raised by Clinton and Panetta, the Palestinian Peace Process, the situation with Turkey, the situation with Jordan, the situation with Egypt, and the military option on Iran are very different strategic issues …

Exclusively Revealed: The Men Who Sabotaged Iranian Defence Facilities

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In the past two weeks, two top-secret Iranian military facilities have been damaged in mysterious explosions.
On Monday there was a large explosion reported in the western Iranian city of Isfahan. Isfahan is the home of a nuclear materials processing plant. That facility first went into operation in 2004, taking uranium from mines and producing uranium fluoride gas, which then feeds the centrifuges that enrich the uranium. Since 2004, thousands of kilograms of uranium flouride gas were stockpiled at Isfahan and subsequently sent to the enrichment plant in Natanz.
The reported incident occurred about two weeks after Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed together with 20 other Guard members Nov. 12 at a military site outside Bidganeh village, 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran. General Moghaddam was the head of Iran's Missile Programs, and his death is a significant blow to the Iranian military leadership. Satellite photographs (see above) of the military facility show extensive da…