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Showing posts from March, 2012

The Race Goes To The SWIFT

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I must say, I had never heard of them. But that doesn’t matter.
Because the people who need to have heard of them, have.
You will recall that “SWIFT”, the bank transfer center, has joined the boycott against Iran.
The Belgium based SWIFT is the world’s standard ‘messenger’ for international bank transactions. The effect of this boycott is to make life far more difficult for Iranians looking to do international trade – primarily their vast oil industry.
Of course, the Iranians are wily enough to find alternatives; bartering would by-pass the use of banks; transferring cash or gold would be bulky, but possible; using third country banks (such as pliant Chinese or Russians) might avoid the need for SWIFT.
However, “celebrate the victories”, I say!
And who should be popping a champagne cork about the SWIFT victory?
The guys I’d never heard of….
UANI – United Against Nuclear Iran.
According to their website:
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, advocacy gr…

Legislating Beauty

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In the eternal debate of Big vs Small Government, the basic freedom to have your own taste in feminine beauty, whether Big or Small, has been protected in every democracy in the world.
The idea that the definition of female beauty will be legislated by central government is unique to Israel.
Last week, Israel’s Knesset passed a bill which outlaws the use of models who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5. In other words, who are too skinny.
Danny Danon of Likud and Rachel Adatto of Kadima drafted the law, which intends to discourage the idealization of excessively thin bodies. Such idealization, it is claimed, have led to the high rates of eating disorders, particularly in teenage girls.
Whereas no-one expects this law in itself to lead Israelis to fancy plumper women, it is considered a first small step in the direction of young women having less of a hang-up about their body weight.
According to AP: "We want to break the illusion that the model we see is real,"…

Should Rabbi Haim Druckman Receive Israel Prize?

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This year’s Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement is being awarded to Rabbi Haim Druckman.
Rabbi Druckman is a leading National Religious rabbi and was also a Member of Knesset (1977-2003). His impressive achievements include pioneering the combined IDF + Yeshiva “Hesder” program, and heading up the National Conversion Committee for 25 years, which has implemented a fast-track program for converting non-Jewish Israeli citizens to Judaism.
Also featuring on his CV are that in 1964 he founded the Ohr Etzion B'nei Akiva Yeshiva Highschool, where he remains Rosh Yeshiva. In 1977 he established the Ohr Etzion Yeshiva, which for many years was the largest Hesder Yeshiva in the country, and in 1995 founded the Ohr MeOfir academy for highschool graduates of the Ethiopian community. Since 1996 he has also been the head of the Center for Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and ulpanot in Israel.
Rabbi Druckman has been caught up in a few controversies during his illustrious career.
In 2008 the (Hareidi domin…

Beit Shemesh Weekly News

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By Rabbi Dov Lipman


BUDGET FOR 2012 FINALLY PRESENTED TO CITY COUNCILMEN
The municipal budget for 2012 was presented to city councilmen on March 7 and will be brought to a council meeting for a vote this coming Monday.  The budget is for 309,312,000 NIS, which is 25 million NIS more than last yaer's budget.  The city treasurer explained the increase based on expenses with the water corporation, changes regarding garbage collection, additional salaries, more students in the education system, an increase in welfare costs, and additional expenses for engineers for construction. 

Arnona intake only covers 113.5 million NIS of the udget.  Therefore, the budget includes requests from government ministries in the following amounts: Misrad Hapnim - 57.8 million NIS, Education Ministry -  38.3 million NIS, Welfare Ministry -  36.7 million NIS, other ministries combined  - 36.4 million NIS.

The increase in salaries is one which the opposition plans to question.  The budget booklet indicates…

Game Changer: Iron Dome

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The salvos of over 200 rockets and missiles this week from Gaza into Israel were grimly familiar to Israelis. However, this time there was an important, indeed critical, difference.
Israel’s population centers have been Israel’s battle front for the past two decades.
The Gulf War of 1991 between Iraq and the USA included the launching of thirty-nine Scud tactical ballistic missiles from Iraq, aimed at Gush Dan, the Tel Aviv population center.
These were countered by US-provided and operated Patriot Missiles batteries.
The U.S. military claimed a high effectiveness against Scuds at the time, but later analysis gives figures as low as nine percent, with forty-five percent of the 158 Patriot launches being against debris or false targets. (Wikipedia)
Since the 2005 Israeli evacuation of Gush Katif/Gaza, an estimated five thousand rockets and missiles have been fired at Israeli population centers.
In the 2007 Second Lebanon War, the North of Israel was pounded by 3990 Hezbollah missiles…

Joke of the Day

My teenage daughter is currently an evacuee from the South. She goes to Baharan boarding school, in Gadera.

I informed her the other morning that they'd said on the news that Gadera had been hit by a missile.

The Bad News: the missile made a direct hit on her school. In fact, it hit her bedroom there.

The Good News: Her room is now much tidier.


Told You So??

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With missiles and rockets being fired onto Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva - indeed the whole of the South of Israel, here is an Arutz 7 video showing those who disparaged the notion that the Disengagement Plan would lead to missile risk to the South.

And how they voted....

Heroes

Ever since I took up the cause of child protection, now over two years ago, I and the two organization I have estabished in Beit Shemesh, have been regularly targeted for intimidation, cherem and verbal assault.

On the other hand, many good people have been supportive - and this gives me and the dedicated teams at Lema'an Achai and Magen tremendous chizuk (encouragement).

Two recent article, in the Jewish Press and on Harry Maryles' "Emes Ve'emunah" blog are particulary postitive.

Though I do not consider myself heroic - I do consider the people who run Lema'an Achai and Magen to be totally remarkable, dedicated, talented, and selfless. In short, heroes.

For further reading: Jewish Press and Emes Ve'Emunah 

Netanyau - Israel's Very Best Ambassador

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"Cometh the moment, cometh the man."

There is no doubt that Benjamin Netanyahu is the very best public speaker abroad in Israel's Government.

I would go further - since Aba Eban, Israel has had no more eloquent English voice than Netanyahu's.

With Israel's existence in jeopardy, facing Iran, within a short time armed with a nuclear bomb, we need the very best.

Hashem sent us Bibi.

Here he is, Bibi at his charming, intelligent, moving, and powerful best:





"Be A Mensch" - A Beit Shemesh Initiative

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A group called "Be A Mensch" has been established in Beit Shemesh.

The initiative has already received some seed funding from the Jewish Agency. The objective is to create positive direction, energy, and acts - particularly in light of the negativity which has recenty been associated world-wide with Beit Shemesh.

Kol Hakavod to "Be A Mensch" on this heart-warming & important initiative!



Repeating History: Obama and the Book of Esther

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Of course, the parallels between today’s unfolding events, and the Book of Esther are undeniable.
The Persian megalomaniac (Haman/Ahmadinejad) is bent on the genocide of the Jews.
What struck me today is the parallels between the edict of King Ahasuerus, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s summit discussions with Barack Obama.
A peculiarity in the Esther story is that King Ahasuerus does not instruct his gentile subjects to NOT attack the Jews on Purim day, but rather he:
granted the Jews whichwere in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them,both little ones and women, andto take the spoil of them for a prey,
With Israel soldiers now so much a part of our daily reality, we often lose sight of the rarity in history of Jews being able to have a right of self defence.
Prior to King Ahasuerus’ decree, the status quo was that Jews did NOT have the right to defend…

Book of Esther - Western Style!

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This is a neat summary of the Book of Esther complete with a profound message.

It is all the more significant in that this video was produced in memory of Udi Fogel, who was murdered a year ago in Itamar, together with four members of his family,by Arab terrorists, while sleeping in their beds.
A full description of that most horrific murder is here.

(The video is in Hebrew).