Showing posts from October, 2015

That Outrageous Status Quo

Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly and internationally stated and re-stated that Israel's policy is to "uphold the status quo on Temple Mount". As the Arabs are currently inciting hatred and terrorism against Jews, spilling innocent blood, using Israel's purported actions on Temple Mount as the pretext - it makes sense for Netanyahu to expose the fallacy & lies of the Palestinian narrative. It was pragmatic for Netanyahu to explain: "Muslims pray on Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit Temple Mount."   However, in so doing Netanyau has missed an opportunity to expose the absurd and outrageous situation that is called the "status quo". The current practice of outlawing Jews and Christians from praying at this most holy site - and giving that right exclusively to Muslims - is blatant discrimination. And the arrest of Jewish "visitors" for crimes such as mumbling psalms, or mouthing prayers, is simply absurd. This absurdity has

Yitzhak Rabin Anniversary - Yes, Time for a Cheshbon Nefesh/Taking Account

Israel is marking 20 years since the assassination for Yitzhak Rabin. During these two decades, left wing leaders and activists have been calling for right wingers to do a "cheshbon nefesh" - a critical self-evaluation - about the events leading up to the murder. Shimon Peres and Rabin family members to this day, continue to point the finger at right wing politicians. This year, Peres said he "can never forgive" Netanyahu and Arik Sharon for "watching posters of Rabin dressed in an SS uniform, in Zion Square, and failing to intervene". I agree that it is time for such an accounting. This accounting and self-evaluation should come from the Left. How is it that, for twenty years, they have used the Rabin assassination to divide rather than unite the Jewish people? Ever since Leah Rabin, Yitzhak's wife, initiated a witch-hunt against rabbis, politicians and activists, blaming them for spilling her husband's blood - the Rabin memorial day

So Many Scams...

Last week I was in China (on business) and my guide was almost scammed. I bought some scarves as gifts, and 'won' some lottery tickets. The lottery tickets were processed at the back of the store, in the expensive jewelry section ($1000's per piece). My guide scratched the cards, and then the sales lady went into raptures of excitement that my guide had WON. Apparently a rare event! A Free piece of jewelry - any item my guide wanted. (At that point, I was curious if the guide would acknowledge that the lottery tickets were actually mine, not the guide's...). Anyway, the sales lady turned around the Lottery Rules Notice posted on her desk, to reveal a few hidden terms & conditions. ALL the winner had to pay was the sales tax on the free jewelry. Fortunately, at that point another member of my party intervened, to advise the guide and me to get the heck out. The scam was to get 15% ("tax") of an outlandishly overvalued piece of worthless jewelry. Got to s

This Close is Too Close

It is difficult for non-Israelis to grasp the incredible proximity of "News" in Israel, to our personal day to day lives. In other countries, when (or if) they switch on the evening's news broadcast, it more resembles yet another soap, about might-as-well-be fictitious, or far away, places and people - than anything about their world, their lives. Here in Israel, the daily news is about us, our families, neighbours and friends. The current crazy situation in our streets, with daily stabbing, driving-down and other terror attacks upon random citizens effects each of us, and their circle, in the most palpable way. In my case, I bring the following examples: 1. Last week (while I was abroad) my visiting parents took a selection of my kids out to a restaurant near the central bus station in Jerusalem. Part way through the meal, there was shouting and a disturbance from outside. Customers in the restaurant started shouting, in clear panic. The restaurateur hurr

I'm Back!

I have been on international travel for the past couple of weeks, and so the dearth of posts on this blog. I'm back, and so readers can now expect the usual couple of posts a week, as previously! Normal service is resumed!

Help tell the stories of the forgotten Jewish refugees of Ukraine

A Guest Post by Samuel Sokol Jews have always been scapegoats during times of trouble and the current Ukrainian crisis is no different. While anti-Semitism in France and other western European nations generates the headlines, the Jews of Ukraine are facing the the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in the Jewish world in 2015. Thousands of Jews have been made homeless by the military conflict that has decimated their communities in Donetsk and Luhansk while both sides of the conflict bandy about casual accusations of anti-Semitism at their enemies for propaganda purposes, falsely turning the issue into a Jewish one. However, their stories are greatly at risk of being forgotten. As the  award winning Diaspora Affairs (Jewish World) Correspondent at the Jerusalem Post  I have been traveling back and forth to Ukraine on a regular basis since the outbreak of the Maidan revolution, collecting testimonies from participants, activists and refugees. While reported from the barr

There's Still Beautiful Hills Around Beit Shemesh!

"My" fields across from Ramat Beit Shemesh Aleph, are being transformed into new neighborhoods. Whereas this entails the wholesale destruction of the natural and historical wonders there, all is not lost for nature-loving residents. Yesterday afternoon, me, my three (single) kids and our dog Messy, headed out into the hills in the Ella Valley. Starting at the track which is popular with thousands of visitors who visit the rare "termosim" flowers there in the spring, now deserted, we headed up into the steep track to the hills towards the south. In our three hour hike, during the 'crowded' Chol Hamoed Sukkot holiday, we passed just a father and his son on their mountain bikes. Aside from that, we had the hills to ourselves. I used a recently downloaded Ap, called Amud Anan, which is an excellent map application, showing one's location, walking trails and terrain map. One of the features is highlighting points of interest, with descriptions a