Good News Friday – Happy New Ears (and more)

I haven’t written a Good News Friday post for quite a few weeks now, so it’s way past time for a new installment.

Before I get to the tantalising part of my headline, here is a great video which was created by my nephew’s class in Modiin. The video shows my nephew Nadav’s class all declaring their readiness to serve in the IDF, considering it a privilege. It was made in response to the nasty open letter published by 63 12th graders who objected to their national service because object to the “occupation”. I truly think that they have a huge hole in their education despite having officially completed the full 12 years of schooling.

Watch the video below for a heart-warming remedy:

 

Kol hakavod to Nadav and his entire class for their patriotism, their loyalty and their level-headedness. The kids really are OK.

Happy New Ears

And now to my Happy New Ears update abotu my granddaughter Shaked who received cochlear implants just over 2 months ago. Since then she has made remarkable progress, with the implants being “mapped” (tuned, amplified etc.) and weekly speech therapy sessions.

Below is a video of the latest mapping session at Shaare Zedek. The technicians expand the sound frequencies received by the implants and watch Shaked for her reaction to make sure it is all working properly. Watch her point her little finger:  ❤  😍

And here she is at home, clapping her hands in response to her father clapping his hands. This may be completely routine for a hearing baby, but for Shaked this was a first and we are so excited!

She is a such a little darling and we are so proud of her! May her hearing and speech continue to grow quickly.

And one last item before I go. Today I have a very special birthday (not telling you how much!) and my family have been busying away in the background in complete secrecy for months working on my birthday party. Although I didn’t know anything definite I had caught whispers and hints, but I assumed it was all going to be cancelled since we are still in the mourning period for my late father-in-law z”l.

But mourning is suspended on Shabbat. So the entire party has been moved to Shabbat, and all my kids and grandkids have descended on Petach Tikva to help me celebrate! I was only told about it earlier this week so that I wouldn’t begin Shabbat preparations. We are all staying in the local youth hostel (even though I have a perfectly comfortable home nearby!) with meals at our shul hall.

The most astonishing thing about the whole party is that my entire family, from my parents through my siblings, my children, grandchildren and possibly even friends (I have no idea who is coming!) have not mentioned one word to me in all this time! This surely must be one of the great miracles of our age! 😛

It’s going to be fun. 😀  And noisy! 🙉

I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom

Posted in Family, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life, support Israel | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Why there cannot be peace between Israel and the Palestinians

Against the constant background noise of international peace-processors, do-gooders, ill-wishers, politicians, diplomats and pundits, it is refreshing to listen to someone who not only knows the facts but has experienced it all for himself.

Watch award-winning Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh as he explains the reality of why there will never (or at least not yet) be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

And despite the fact that he is a Muslim Arab, Abu Toameh lays the blame firmly at the feet of the Palestinians and their supporters.

(via Chaim F):

Posted in Incitement, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

BDS banned! – Hear them whine

Back in August I wrote about anti-Israel boycotters being banned, and the irony of their complaints at having a taste of their own medicine.

Last week the Israeli government expanded on their original decision by publishing a list of about 20 anti-Israel organizations whose members will be denied entry to Israel:

“We have switched from defense to offense,” said Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.

“The boycott organizations need to know that the State of Israel will act to stop them and prevent their representatives from entering the country to harm its citizens.”

The list features BDS groups who, according to the ministry, carry out campaigns of “falsehood and incitement” in an effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy worldwide.

The blacklisted groups “consistently and continuously act against the State of Israel by pressuring groups, institutions and states to boycott Israel,” the ministry said.

Among the groups on the list are six US based organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace, and 10 European organizations, including leading BDS groups in Italy, France, Norway and Sweden.

The ban is set to be enforced beginning in March and will be limited to people who hold senior positions or who are very active within the organizations.

“The formulation of this list is another step forward in our battle against the incitement and lies of the BDS organizations. No country would grant entrance to visitors who seek to harm it, especially ones whose goal is to terminate Israel as a Jewish state,” said Erdan.

The ministry added that it will be passing the names of the organizations over to the Interior Ministry and border patrol.

Interior Minister Arye Deri said, “As the minister in charge of the Israel Entry Law, I made it perfectly clear that I would use my authority to prevent individuals and representatives of groups, whose sole purpose is to harm Israel and its security, from entering its borders.”

“These people are trying to take advantage of the law and our hospitality in order to act against and defame Israel,” he added.

Erdan claims a certain degree of success in this new method for deterring BDS:

The ministry pointed out that this approach is successful in curtailing BDS efforts, highlighting the recent announcements by Denmark and Norway, who said they would toughen their stances against the funding of pro-Palestinian organizations.

The ministry also touted their efforts which they claim led 24 US states, as well as the federal government, to pass anti-BDS legislation.

The BDS-ers themselves dispute this of course:

The organizations on the list, however, seem undeterred by the latest tactic. Several organizations on the list issued statements on Sunday, claiming that Israel’s move only serves as proof that the BDS movement is spreading and having an impact.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, issued a statement and said the ban was “disconcerting but not surprising, given the further erosion of democratic norms and rising anxiety about the power of BDS as a tool to demand freedom.”

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement via its Facebook page and said being on the list was a “badge of honor” and that it was “in good company.”

In fact Prof. Gerald Steinberg, director of NGO Monitor, warned that the ban, while a good idea in theory, might backfire by giving the haters free publicity:

Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder and president of the NGO Monitor watchdog group, told JNS that the government’s move signals that Israel “won’t turn a blind eye to those who work to delegitimize it — but the downside is that it also serves to raise the profiles of these groups.”

The list drew fire from “rights” groups – that is, rights for everyone except Jews. I can’t say I am surprised or even disappointed. They are acting precisely as I expected.

See these tweets for example:

The blogger Edgar Davidson has a nifty graphic illustrating the hypocrisy of the boycotted boycotters:

And here is the full list of the banned organizations – or at least the leaders of the following organizations:

United States:
• AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
• AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
• Code Pink
• JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
• NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
• USCPR (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

Europe:
• AFPS (The Association France Palestine Solidarité)
• BDS France
• BDS Italy
• ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
• FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
• IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• Norgeׂׂ Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
• PGS Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (Palestine Solidarity Association in Sweden)
• PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
• War on Want
• BDS Kampagne

Latin America
• BDS Chile

South Africa
• BDS South Africa

Other
• BNC (BDS National Committee)

In my humble opinion the ban does not go far enough. There are many more such hateful organizations, plus the ban should include everyone who has been active in these groups, not just the leaders. Why should anyone working to undermine the State of Israel, and especially those trying to harm it, whether physically or politically, be permitted to enter and carry out their despicable work on our own turf? Let them try to do it by remote.

If you would like a further reminder of what BDS is all about see this post of mine about the malicious aims of BDS.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, Incitement | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Terror attack in Samaria: Rabbi Raziel Shevach HY”D murdered

Rabbi Raziel Shevach Hy’d with his family

Last night Palestinian terrorists opened fire on the car of Rabbie Raziel Shevach Hy’d, a resident of Havat Gilad in Samaria. Rabbi Shevach was a volunteer in Magen David Adom though he was off duty at the time. He managed to call for help before finally succumbing to his wounds in hospital.

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a 35-year-old father of six, has died of his wounds following a shooting attack near Havat Gilad in Samaria this evening.

Rabbi Shevach was a mohel and volunteered with Magen David Adom. About a year ago, he finished studies for the rabbinate, and was currently in the midst of studies to be a rabbinical arbiter.

The rabbi leaves behind a wife, 4 daughters and 2 sons, the younger of which is an 8-month-old baby. Details for the funeral have not yet been set.

Medics who rushed to the scene provided aid to the rabbi and evacuated him to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where doctors fought to save his life, but were ultimately forced to confirm his death.

The hospital said that “The wounded man arrived to the hospital without pulse, not breathing, and without vital signs. He was brought to the trauma room, where advanced resuscitation efforts were employed. Unfortunately, despite the efforts, his death was confirmed.”

The terrorists fled the scene and have not yet been apprehended.

Samaria Council head Yossi Dagan responded to the tragic incident, saying, “It’s inconceivable that terrorists feel free to shoot at innocent civilians. Nevertheless, I want to send a clear message to our enemies: We will not give in to terror. We have chosen the path of life.”

Friends eulogized Rabbi Shevach as a warm, learned and loving individual:

Rabbi Raziel Shevach, slain in a West Bank terror attack Tuesday night, was remembered by friends and acquaintances as a goodhearted family man who was a central figure in the local settlement community and in his home of Havat Gilad.

Comforting the mourners at Rabbi Raziel Shevach’s funeral

“He was a very special person,” said friend Yehuda Hass, who volunteered with Shevach as a medic in Magen David Adom. “Just recently he received a citation for his work in the organization. He was the unofficial rabbi of Havat Gilad.”

The 35-year-old father of six was also a rabbi in a yeshiva and a mohel.

“He was a very well known mohel here…in the area, entirely as a volunteer,” Hass told the Ynet news site. “He was a great man with a great heart.”

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau also released a statement in which he said he was heartbroken by Shevach’s death. He described him as a “unique, affable and rare character” who “devoted his life to saving lives, teaching Torah and safeguarding Judaism in the Land of Israel.”

The head of the local settler council, Yossi Dagan said “residents of Samaria and all of Israel grieve this terrible loss and embrace the family and the orphaned children.”

Dagan called Shevach a central figure in the region, “a man of grace, a man of Torah and a friend. All who knew him loved him, and loved him deeply.”

Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said the government will look into legalizing the Havat Gilad outpost in revenge for the murder of Rabbi Shevach. My opinion is that the outpost should be legalized in any event, unconnected to any terror acts – but better this way than not at all. I’ll believe it when I see it.

A much easier and more efficient way to prevent terrorism is to cut off their funding at source. The Defence Ministry reports that in 2017 the Palestinian Authority paid terrorists the mind-boggling sum of 1.23 billion shekels:

The Palestinian Authority spent 1.23 billion shekels ($358 million) on payments to terrorists and their families last year, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. The figure represents 7% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget for 2017.

In 2016, the Palestinian Authority spent 1.15 billion shekels ($322 million) on terrorists’ stipends.

The Defense Ministry released the figures as part of the government’s work on the so-called “terrorist wages bill,” which passed its preliminary Knesset reading in June 2017.

According to the latest figures, each terrorist serving a three- to five-year sentence in an Israeli prison receives a monthly stipend equivalent to NIS 2,000 ($580).

Terrorists serving a life sentence receive a monthly stipend amounting to NIS 10,000 ($2,900). Married terrorists receive an additional NIS 300 ($87) a month, and those who are married with children receive an additional NIS 50 ($14) per child a month. Terrorists who have Israeli citizenship receive an additional NIS 500 ($144) a month.

To compare, the average monthly salary of Palestinians in the West Bank amounts to about $580.

The legislative proposal, spearheaded by the Defense and Justice ministries, seeks to hinder the PA’s terrorist stipend mechanism.

It stipulates that at the end of every year, the defense minister will present the Ministerial Committee on National Security with a report detailing the direct and indirect payments the Palestinian Authority has made to terrorists and their families. The figure will then be deducted from PA tax funds collected by Israel.

Ynet provides us the figures in a handy table (Via Judy F):

In English:

Monthly payments:
3-5 years jail: 2,000 shekels
20-35 years jail: 10,000 shekels for life
Married terrorist: +300 shekels
Terrorist with children: +50 per child
Terrorist from Jerusalem: +300 shekels
Israeli terrorist: +500 shekels

Until the likes of the EU and UNRWA stop funding the terrorists, not to mention start demanding their accountability for the funds received, plus demand that they cease incitement of their children through the educational system, Palestinian terrorism will never end.

Posted in Incitement, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The West’s shameful response to the Iran protests

Iran protests continue

In my earlier post about the Iran protests I mentioned the limp response from both Western governments and Western media.  Melanie Phillips picks up on the weak institutional response from the West, saying:

… utterly risible the gloss initially put on these protests by the western media – those outlets, that is, that even bothered to report the demonstrations when they first erupted – that the issue which has brought Iranians onto the streets is merely economic privation.

They said this because the media reflects the European/Obama view that the Iranian regime is not an enemy but an ally. How then can they acknowledge that the Iranian people are rising up against oppression?

The Obama/EU axis and its media supporters have consistently dismissed or denied Iran’s role as the world’s principal sponsor of terrorism. They have ignored or downplayed its march to regional hegemony. They procured or applauded the shocking nuclear deal which enables this fanatical Islamist regime –– which has been at war with the west since 1979 and which openly declares its genocidal intent to wipe out out Israel – to become a nuclear armed power in ten or fifteen years’ time: a deal which, though sanctions relief, has also funnelled money to the regime to enable it to step up its terrorism and embed itself further in the region.

The result has not been merely that the free world has been placed in hugely increased danger. The European/Obama axis also abandoned and betrayed the Iranian people who have been suffering under the cruel tyranny of a regime which oppresses women, jails dissidents and hangs gay men from cranes.

If people are to rouse their courage to pit themselves against the might of a regime that can kill and crush them, the support of the rest of the world is absolutely crucial. So far, though, Trump is alone in offering such support. Apart from Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson feebly and pointlessly tweeting his “concern”, Britain and the EU have been silent. They are not supporting the people of Iran against the regime. They are not trying to weaken it. How can they? They have helped empower it. As have their cheerleaders and Obama sycophants in the media.

Melanie Phillips continues on this theme in a further post on Europe’s shameful silence on the Iran protests, in which she also excoriates Barack Obama and his administration for empowering the Ayatollahs through the nuclear deal:

The people have been calling for “Death to Khamenei,” Iran’s supreme leader, “Death to Rouhani,” Iran’s supposedly moderate president, and to “End the clerical regime!” Revolutions against tyrannical oppressors require extraordinary levels of courage and determination. We know from Soviet Union dissidents how desperately such people need to know the world is with them and to hear their oppressors put on notice that their behavior is being watched.

Support for the protestors from London

The very worst thing for those pitting their lives against tyranny is silence from the rest of the world. That’s what tyrants depend upon to stamp out the sparks of freedom.

President Trump stepped up to the plate by repeatedly tweeting support and encouragement to the protesters and issuing warnings designed to undermine and weaken the regime.

But from all those progressive folk in the West who never stop parading their anti-fascist credentials and signaling their support for the persecuted and for human rights there has been… silence.

The media tried to dismiss the uprising as merely an economic protest. Instead of condemning the regime for killing and jailing protesters, the media condemned Trump for supporting them.

The British and EU governments, with their vast and sordid financial ties to the regime, have given zero support to the revolt, offering merely bromides about the need to avoid loss of life. In the US, former Obama administration staffers have been desperately playing down the uprising.

Obama’s Middle East coordinator Philip Gordon called on Trump “to keep quiet and do nothing” in response to the protests.

The Iranians, he claimed, wouldn’t want Trump’s support. His threat to end the nuclear deal, his unconditional support for “Iran’s biggest adversaries, Saudi Arabia and Israel” and his recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would give the Iranians reasons to unite against him.

Gordon thus stupidly conflated the Iranian people with the Iranian regime.

It’s the regime that is against America on all these issues. The Iranian people, by contrast, have no intrinsic prejudice against Israel, have no reason to reject the recognition of Jerusalem and are unlikely to lose sleep over the ending of the nuclear deal, nor America’s alliance with the regime’s foes in Saudi Arabia.

For the protesters were also shouting: “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! Our life only for Iran!” They don’t support the regime’s aim of regional and global domination. They want Iran to be run for the benefit of Iranians.

For this, they desperately need Trump’s support. They want to know that the US won’t support the regime. Obama did that, and it hurt the Iranian people.

Obama thus bent over backward to give Iran a free pass. According to Politico, his administration stymied an FBI-led operation to shut down Hezbollah’s drug-running, terrorism- financing racket.

In the 2016 prisoner swap deal with Iran, he released several men who his own law enforcement agencies believed posed a danger to national security.

And in the 2009 Green Revolution, Obama abandoned the Iranian people by refusing to give the protesters support.

All of this was to secure the nuclear deal – which has merely empowered Iran to use the money released by sanctions relief to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure and step up its malign and aggressive meddling in the rest of the region.

If the Iranian uprising is stamped out, it will be because of the absence of support from Britain and Europe. Their silence makes them complicit with a genocidal regime at war with the West and has caused them shamefully to betray a brave people fighting for its freedom.

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, himself a former Prisoner of Zion at the hands of the brutal Soviet regime, agrees with the Melanie Phillips’ position, writing in the Washington Post that the West should stop dithering and support the Iranian protestors:

As an opinion piece in the New York Times recently put it, the best way for the U.S. government to help the Iranian protesters is to “Keep quiet and do nothing.”

Fortunately, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have already shown themselves unwilling to follow this advice. Even so, it is vital to understand why failing to support the protesters at this critical juncture would constitute a moral and strategic mistake — one of potentially historic proportions.

Consider what happened in 2009, when Iranians came out in large numbers to denounce their country’s rigged presidential election. The response they received from the American government was decidedly tepid. The priority of then-President Barack Obama was to reach an agreement with Tehran over its nuclear program, and he and his advisers feared that they would alienate the regime by vocally supporting its detractors.

Yet subsequent events have proved these views completely wrong. This policy of non-interference discouraged protesters and reinforced the regime at the very moment when the opposite could have led to genuine change.

My experiences as a political prisoner and my decades of involvement with democratic dissidents around the world have shown me that all democratic revolutions have some elements in common. It is the drive of ordinary citizens to free themselves from government control over their thought, speech and livelihoods — to shed the burden of having to conform in public despite their private misgivings and grievances against the regime — that has propelled dissidents and revolutionary movements around the world, from Communist Russia to the Arab Spring to today’s Islamic Republic of Iran.

Any regime that refuses to respect its citizens’ most basic rights, and especially the right to think and speak freely, can maintain its power only by intimidation and force.

Dissidents know the penalties of speaking out but are compelled more by the desire for freedom than by fear. They are willing to brave the consequences, including the loss of their livelihoods, physical freedom and even their lives, to gain the liberty to speak their minds. Revolutions take place when enough people simultaneously cross that fateful line between silent questioning and open dissent, between cowering in fear and standing up for freedom. Once they do so, the regime can no longer contain the upsurge of opposition and must either begin to liberalize or collapse.

This is why a policy of silence on the part of world leaders is so misguided. What matters to Iranians debating whether to cross this decisive threshold is how much they dislike their own government, as well as their knowledge that the free world — those who share the basic principles for which they are fighting — stands behind them in their moment of truth.

… Our leaders must not be misled by the argument that publicly siding with Iran’s dissidents will give the regime an excuse to blame the protests on foreign meddling or crack down even harder on dissidents. The government in Tehran will do these things no matter what, since a regime as threatened as Iran’s is right now will take any steps in its power to deflect and suppress opposition.

Yet, world powers should go even further than this. They should warn Tehran — and thereby reassure protesters — that it must respect its citizens’ rights if it wishes to continue receiving benefits from their countries. Articulating a clear policy of linkage would put pressure on the regime to make genuine changes and give hope to protesters that their sacrifices will not be in vain.

These sterling words from Natan Sharansky stand in stark contrast to the utterly pathetic reaction from Britain’s establishment, particularly the Labour Party whose leader has never met a terrorist he couldn’t like.

Here’s a tweet from a spoof Jeremy Corbyn account, but the link is no spoof:

And more:

Even the leftist Independent calls on Britain to support the protestors and condemns the equivocation of the Labour Party:

Anyone with a conscience, meanwhile, knows that the Iranian government hangs gay people, tramples on women’s rights, has a poor human rights record and sponsors terrorism. It is not difficult, in a contest between such a regime and the right to free expression, to know which side is wearing the whiter hat.

Ms Thornberry’s warning that Westerners should not “simply impose our views” on other countries is the most appalling moral cowardice. There is nothing “Western” about universal human rights, and all representatives of the British people should stand up for them.

But let’s not just concentrate on the Labour Party who, after all, are not in power. What about the British government itself?

Allister Heath in the Telegraph laments Britain’s non-response:

What’s wrong with us? Why isn’t there loud, universal support from all shades of political opinion, in Britain and across the West, for the anti-regime protesters in Iran? Why such reluctance to encourage these brave young men and women who are risking their lives by taking on the theocrats?

Have we forgotten the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, or is it that our elites are now so embarrassed by Western values that they can no longer relate to those in other countries who also yearn for freedom and democracy?

Scandalously, but unsurprisingly, Mr Corbyn has yet to speak out about the protests: he was quick to condemn Donald Trump’s commonsensical recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but has nothing to say about the murder of dozens of Iranians.

So much for the hard-Left. Why are the Tories and the (clearly hopeless) Foreign Office almost as silent, in effect aligning themselves with the worst of European foreign policy, despite the liberating potential of Brexit?

Why has Boris Johnson been so uncharacteristically mealy-mouthed? Why is the British government still clinging to the absurd notion that the Iranian nuclear deal was a good idea, rather than a shameful exercise in appeasement which ended up propping up an illegitimate regime while lining the pockets of a few European companies?

I understand that Boris feels he must tread carefully after the disastrous Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair, but it is deeply disappointing that Mr Trump’s foreign policy towards Iran is far more ethical than Britain’s. We need a Kennedy-esque oration, a “we are all Tehranis” moment from our Foreign Secretary to give the rebels the kind of moral support they desperately need.

The Americans get this: Mr Trump – yes, Trump, the president despised by so-called liberals the world over – has adopted exactly the right tone in recent days, and Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the UN, has been superb and now looks like a future Republican presidential contender.

The reality is that there is no moral ambiguity when it comes to the Iranian protests, no shades of grey, no trade-off to be had for reasons of realpolitik. There are the good guys – the young, brave counter-revolutionaries seeking to overthrow the brutes who have ruled their country for so long – and then there is the regime, a barbaric and corrupt mob that has brought a once great society to its knees.

The protests were precipitated by economic chaos, as is often the case, but quickly mutated into open attacks on the regime. …  In social terms, there has been an explosion in drug abuse, mental illness, depression and atomisation.

Most encouragingly, the protesters are furious that the regime is spending so much on financing terrorism and on its wars in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, rather than on its own people. They have been saying so, clearly, in demonstrations around the country.

This remarkable message – a powerful counter-blast to the pernicious idea that the Middle East is somehow different, that none of its people want democracy, individual liberty or toleration – is far more radical than the demands made during the 2009 uprising. If any country is ready for a real dose of modernisation, it’s Iran.

True, the protesters are disorganised and they disagree about much, but they deserve our support, and that of all of the global bodies supposedly concerned with human rights which have been pretending not to notice what has been going on (they are only interested in the “right” kinds of rights violation, that is those by Western countries).

We cannot be sure that a new, successful counter-revolution would not lead to chaos, but Iran doesn’t need an authoritarian regime to prevent tribal warfare and the Islamists are totally discredited, so the omens are better than they were in Afghanistan or Libya.

What is certain is that we’ve failed the Middle East appallingly in recent decades. We mustn’t also betray Iran again. Its dissidents need a clear signal that the world would be delighted to work, when the time is right, with a new government in Tehran. Foreign Secretary, are you listening?

The only foreign representative who does seem to be listening and is not afraid to express an opinion is the US Ambassador to the UN who overtly threatened the Iranian regime:

Let’s just hope that the world does not restrict itself to just “watching”.

Posted in International relations, Iran | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Shabbat Shalom – rainy edition

Once again there will be no Good News Friday post. There has been more sad news in our wider family and I am simply not in the mood for a jolly post.

But Shabbat is coming and we do have one very great reason to celebrate: it’s raining! This is a matter of huge import in Israel despite our being a world center for desalination. We also take our rainfall very seriously on a religious level. We pray for rain at the end of Sukkot, and if the rain does not appear by Chanukah, we add another prayer for rain to our daily tefilot.

Straight after Chanukah, on the fast of Asara beTevet, a mass prayer rally was held at the Kotel – and the Minister for Agriculture Uri Ariel called on the public to bring umbrellas, so sure was he that G-d would heed our prayers:

Ariel noted that the country has seen less rain this year than on average and it appears the arid conditions, which come against the background of the last four years of drought, will continue.

“I call on the public to participate in this event on the 10th of Tevet… and to bring umbrellas, because together we will tear open the gates of Heaven,” the minister said.

And it looks as if G-d has heard our prayers and answered them by the bucketful!

The Times of Israel reports on two children rescued from the roof of their car stuck in flooding, and also all the other difficulties arising from the massive rainfall.

But to show a lighter side to the rain:

Two by two

The caption read: “Regarding the expected storm on Friday, I don’t want to worry you but my friend walked past the Safari in Ramat Gan, he said he saw the animals organizing themselves into two by two…”  😀

May we all enjoy גשמי ברכה – rains of blessing, may they bring down their blessings from Heaven onto the Land of Israel, so that we may enjoy the fruits of this land.

May we know no more sorrow, and only have smachot from now on.

Shabbat Shalom everyone!

Posted in Israel news, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , | 6 Comments