Good News Friday – new baby edition

Another hard week has gone by, but at least for me and my family it had a very happy end. We became the proud grandparents of a new baby granddaughter! <3

The happy (and rather overtired) new parents are our son and daughter-in-law, who are now the parents of 6 beautiful girls! (I kid you not!).  :-D

Here is the Princess in all her glory. :-)

We wish heartiest mazal tov to our son and daughter-in-law, our mechutanim (the “outlaws”) our parents and their parents (the great-grandparents) and all the wider family. May our children have the privilege of bringing up the new baby into Torah, the Chupa and to good deeds.

Since we’re on the subject of new babies, here is an astounding medical miracle performed by Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky in Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem.


To think that there are people who call themselves doctors who want to throw Israel out of the World Medical Association! Let’s hope for their own sake they never need to services of Israeli doctors like Dr. Gielchinsky.

We’ll skip now from the very newborn to the very ancient past, where we find a 1,700 year old inscription referring to Rabbis in Tzipori in the Galilee which was a major Jewish center during Mishnaic times:

Three 1,700-year-old funerary inscriptions referring to rabbis written in Aramaic and Greek were recently unearthed in Moshav Tzipori, in the Galilee, the Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday.

The finding was made following a joint effort carried out by residents of the moshav, researchers from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archeology of the Kinneret Academic College, and the authority.

1700 year-old inscriptions found at Tzipori in the Galilee

According to the authority, two Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as rabbis, who were buried in the western cemetery of Tzipori, although their names have yet to be deciphered.

“Researchers are uncertain as to the meaning of the term ‘rabbi’ at the time when Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi resided in Tzipori together with [other] Tannaim, and after him by Amoraim, the large groups of sages who studied in the city’s houses of learning.”

A notable surprise in the newly discovered inscriptions, Aviam said, is that one of the deceased was named “the Tiberian.”

“This is already the second instance of someone from Tiberias being buried in the cemetery at Tzipori,” the researcher said. “It is quite possible that Jews from various parts of the Galilee were brought to Tzipori to be buried in the wake of the important activity carried out there by Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi.”

“Several of the ancient inhabitants from Tzipori are mentioned in these inscriptions, which include the names of rabbis, and often have the names of the professions they were engaged in. Aramaic was the common language used by the Jews in the period of the Mishna and Talmud, but some of them also spoke and read Greek, and thus there are also funerary inscriptions in that language.”

Tzipori was the first capital of the Galilee from the time of the Hasmonean Dynasty until the establishment of Tiberias in the first century CE. The city continued to be central and important later on, and was where Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi resided and compiled the Mishna.

All those who had the benefit of a religious Jewish education will have learned about Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi. He was a pivotal figure in Jewish history and is of major importance. So you can understand the excitement at discovering these inscriptions which refer to him and his milieu. It’s not that we needed any proof that he existed – the Mishna itself is proof of that – but it’s quite an amazing feeling to be able to see actual references to him from his own time.

Kol hakavod to all the archaeologists and researchers involved in this fascinating project.

And now, moving back to the very modern present, the Arava region recently held a fascinating Open Day to celebrate the success of Israeli agriculture in the Arava desert which is not just blooming, but fruiting!

About two hundred organizations, entrepreneurs and companies exhibited the latest innovations in the field at the largest agricultural exhibition in Israel: from seed improvement to biological pest control, from tractors to sensors for measuring the growth rate of plants, from irrigation implements to local cultivars of fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables and herbs grown in the Arava desert region

“This is a celebration of agriculture in Israel and it presents the many aspects of the agricultural sector -the farmers, the companies, the tools and the developments,” said Dr. Eyal Blum, the Mayor of the Central Arava Regional Council. “The conferences and meetings being held during the two days of the exhibition provide an opportunity for getting updated and acquainted with new trends being led by the Arava region in agricultural research and development.”

Visitors from many countries attended the Arava Open Day to learn about the miracle of Arava agriculture, where vegetables are grown in the heart of the desert. Among the visitors was a delegation of farmers from Gaza. “It was important for us to find out what is new in this field,” explained one of the members of the group from Gaza. “Agriculture provides food for people, on the most basic level, and perhaps joint ventures in agriculture could pave the way toward a better future for both peoples.”

Experimental hothouse flowers grown in the Arava

Noticeable participants included students from the Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT), an agricultural school for students from developing countries, which is supported by KKL-JNF. The students were dressed in their colorful traditional costumes and gave cultural performances with dancing and singing.

The Central and Northern Arava R&D station, which is operated with major support from KKL-JNF, is located in the middle of an intensively cultivated area. The R&D scientists develop crops and agricultural techniques for adapting cultivation to the harsh climatic conditions of the Arava -extreme temperatures, aridity and water salinity.

“Our job is to support Israeli farmers so that they can make a living from the work of their hands,” said Boaz Hurvitz, the director of the Northern and Central Arava R&D station, “and the know-how we are developing here helps different countries in the world to advance their food security.”

“The Arava is the Silicon Valley of Israeli agriculture,” said Noa Zer, the Director of Resource Development at the Central Arava Regional Council. “Agriculture is making the desert bloom and is a growth engine for the settlement of our region.”

Kol hakavod to all those intrepid farmers and agriculturists who persevere in such harsh conditions to fulfill Ben Gurion’s dream of making the desert bloom. They are a source of huge pride for Israel and can teach the world so much.

Watch this great video and enjoy the fruits of our land – literally!

And one final note, since I started with a birthday I’ll finish with one. This week was my blog’s 5th birthday. Happy bloggieversary to me. :-D

wordpressThank you all dear readers, commenters and contributors. I couldn’t do it without you. Here’s to many more years of happy blogging.

May we only have good news to report.

And on this note I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Blogging, Family, History, Israel news, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

International Holocaust Memorial Day: time to bash Israel again

Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day, marked on the day that Auschwitz was liberated by the Allies. A memorial ceremony was held at Auschwitz as well as at other places around the world:

Holocaust survivors walk through the main gate of the former Auschwitz Nazi death (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The commemoration at the former death camp in southern Poland, an area under Nazi occupation during the war, is part of the UN-designated International Remembrance Day, marked by politicians, survivors and others in ceremonies and events across the world.

It’s all very well commemorating the dead from over 70 years ago, but what about the Jews who are alive? How are they faring around the world? The answer is: Not very well, as we are seeing a dramatic rise in anti-Semitism around the world:

“We must be honest enough to admit that more than 70 years after the Shoah, anti-Semitism is still alive in our ‘civilized’ European Union,” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign affairs representative, said in a statement.

Jewish immigration to Israel from Western Europe grew last year due to a rise in anti-Semitic attacks. Most — nearly 8,000 — were from France, where Islamic extremist attacks have destroyed the sense of security previously felt by Europe’s largest Jewish population.

In Germany, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees have arrived in the past year, Jews feel threatened from both the far right and people coming from countries like Syria.

A rise in anti-Muslim hostility amid the migrant crisis is — irrationally — also fueling anti-Semitism as a growing number of people lash out in fear at anyone they perceive as different.

On Saturday, neo-Nazis paraded in the center of the English city of Newcastle doing Nazi salutes and carrying a banner that said: “Refugees Not Welcome. Hitler Was Right.”

And late last year in Poland, far-right extremists at an anti-migrant demonstration in Wroclaw burned the effigy of an Orthodox Jew.

Indeed, the official Israeli report on antisemitism in 2015 paints a dismal picture:

The world is an awful place and everybody hates the Jews.

That, at least, would be a fair assumption to make after reading a report put out by Israel’s Diaspora Affairs Ministry this week on international anti-Semitism. Painting a pretty bleak picture, the 26-page compendium of incidents and trends appears to strive for an almost “real-time” look at what occurred the world over in 2015.

The report pinpoints three overriding trends — a surge in radical Islam, a blurring of borders between anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, and the European extremist political right — as the main causes for a rise in anti-Semitic incidents this year.

The report devotes several pages to the European intersection of radical Islam and Jewish communities.

“It is important to say these are not the newcomers — not the immigrants and refugees. These are Muslim European citizens attacking Jewish European citizens,” said Karasenty, noting that such terrorists are products of the European education system.

“We are definitely worried about the immigrants that came from countries with prejudices about Israel and the Jews,” Karasenty clarified. “This is a source of worry, but for now their concern is their daily survival. What happens in the future — that’s a different story.”

Meanwhile the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, did his best to stir the pot by asserting that Palestinian terrorism is a “human nature” reaction to “occupation”. Binyamin Netanyahu was outraged – as are all Israelis and Jews worldwide – and he accused Ban of stoking violence:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday of supporting Palestinian terrorism.

“It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism,” Ban had told a Security Council meeting in New York.

In what became a war of words, Netanyahu shot back: “The secretary-general’s remarks provide a tailwind for terrorism. There is no justification for terrorism. Those Palestinians who murder do not want to build a state, they want to destroy a state and they say this openly.”

Netanyahu didn’t go nearly far enough. He should have mentioned that no one suffered more over history than the Jews, with pogroms, random violence, blood libels, religious persecution, expulsions, executions, torture and forced conversion. Did they ever take up arms against their enemies? Against civilians?

The same question could be asked millions of other displaced refugees, as Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid noted:

“There are millions of people in the world whose lives are harder than those of the Palestinians,” Lapid continued. “In Africa, in Asia, in the Middle East. There are hundreds of millions of people in the world for whom the UN didn’t create a special body and to whom the UN didn’t send billions of dollars (and then stood to one side while a corrupt government stole it).

“For some reason those people don’t think there is anything, anything at all, which gives them license to take a knife and stab a mother of six. To take a knife and stab a woman who is five months pregnant. To take a knife and stab a wonderful 23 year old woman who had never harmed anyone.”

Only the Palestinians are given a free pass to attack Jews because Jews want to build houses in their homeland. The UN and its associated institutions has Jewish blood on its hands and should hang its head in shame.

Anti-Semitism through the ages (cartoon by Ronny Gordon of The Israel Cartoon Project)

These vile apologetics for terrorism were uttered precisely on the day when Israel buried yet another terror victim – Shlomit Krigman Hy’d who was murdered in Bet Horon.

The secretary-general had condemned both Palestinian and Israeli violence in his opening remarks to the council.

“Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn – and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives,” Ban said.

“But security measures alone will not stop the violence.

They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people,” the secretary- general said.

“Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process.”

In Jerusalem, Netanyahu scoffed at Ban’s remarks as he explained that the violence was the result of a hatred of Jews, rather than a reaction to any political reality on the ground.

“They want to murder Jews for being Jews and they say this openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights,” he added.

“The United Nations long ago lost its neutrality and its moral force, and the secretary- general’s remarks do not improve its standing.”

And of course, how could a UN session pass – even one commemorating the Holocaust – without a mention of those eeevil Jewish houses?

Terrorism and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not the only topic on the UNSC’s agenda. Ban, the US, the UK and many other UN member states also called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

Their words came on a day when Peace Now announced that the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria had last week approved 158 new homes in West Bank settlements.

But Ban and member states focused on other settlement activity in Area C of the West Bank, such as the pending reclassification to state land of 150 hectares of farmland in the Jordan Valley. Settlers have farmed much of that area for the past two decades and the reclassification does not change its usage.

UN member states also took issue with the recent decision to expand the territory under the auspices of the Gush Etzion regional council to include the 4-hectare site once owned by the US Presbyterian Church. US millionaire Irving Moskowitz has purchased the property and settlers hope to use it as a tourist center.

“These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead,” Ban said. “Progress toward peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise.”

If the land has been legally purchased, why is it considered provocative or illegal? Since this attitude is only towards Israeli Jews, this is an antisemitic reaction by definition.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said her government strongly opposes settlement activity.

Changing the designation of land and the issuance of building tenders are fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and raises legitimate concerns about Israel’s intentions, Power said.

Still, she noted, “settlement activity can never be an excuse for violence.”

Neither Power nor anyone else in the UN addresses the other kind of illegal settlement activity – that carried out by the EU which constructs buildings and roads for Palestinians in Area C.

She also condemned “settler violence” and the attack in the Palestinian village of Duma that took the lives of three members of the Dawabsha family.

Since no one has been tried, let alone found guilty of this crime, how does she know it was “settlers” who committed this crime?

And how could we have a UN session without our daily dose of Palestinian blood libels?

PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on the Security Council saying, “As we speak, Palestinians, the majority of them youths, are being killed daily in the streets, many extra-judicially executed by occupying forces and settlers.

“Claims that such violence and crimes are necessary to ensure Israeli security are offensive and must be rejected. All people are entitled to security; it is not exclusive to Israel and cannot be achieved by illegal and aggressive actions.”

Riiiight. And these Palestinian “children” are being “executed” for no reason at all. Not because they are trying – and often succeeding – in murdering Israeli civilians

Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon display ‘terror dolls,’ right, which are being used to teach hatred among Palestinian children, on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at the UN (AP Photo/Cara Anna)

He makes me sick, and ought to be put on trial himself for libel, slander and incitement to murder.

Of course, the rise in anti-Semitism is not helped by the warming ties between the US and Europe with Iran. What would have been quite incredible to contemplate a year ago is happening as we speak: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is on a diplomatic tour of Europe, and true to form, he is ratcheting up the Jew-hate-O-Meter:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused the “Zionist lobby” of torpedoing potentially positive ties between Tehran and Washington Wednesday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentilon

Rouhani ‘s comments, which coincided with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, were made to reporters in Italy before he took off for France during his first trip to Europe as president.

“It’s possible that Iran and the United States might have friendly relations. But the key to that is in Washington’s hands, not Tehran’s,” he said, according to Reuters.

“The Zionist lobby AIPAC is very active” and influential in the US, he said, in remarks translated by Channel 2.

He added that it was in Washington’s interest to no longer isolate Iran given the geopolitical reality of the region, saying it shouldn’t be pressured by what he called the Israeli and Jewish lobby.

Rouhani’s trip, coming closely on the heels of the nuclear deal, is seen as signaling a dramatic rapprochement between Tehran and the European powers since the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Ties with the US, while improved, have remained chilly.The president is accompanied by a delegation of more than 100 ministers, officials and businessmen, marking the return of Iran on the international economic stage with the lifting of sanctions.

Even before Rouhani’s comments, Israeli Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein criticized the warm welcome the Iranian president received in Europe as the world commemorated the Holocaust as “hypocrisy.”

“I have no words to define presidents of countries who on International Holocaust Day host the Iranian president, like the president of France is doing. We will continue our struggle to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. Let other people listen to their own consciences,” Edelstein said at the plenum opening.

A day after meeting with Pope Francis, Rouhani also said freedom of expression did not extend to insulting other people’s faith.

That’s funny. I thought Iran held Holocaust Denial Cartoon contests. Not to mention calling Jews “sons of apes and pigs”, and all the other antisemitic tropes that one can think of.

Thankfully there are some “tzadikim in Sdom”. Many French citizens were outraged at Rouhani’s visit and came out to protest:

PARIS — Some 250 people demonstrated Wednesday at the Republic Square in Paris against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to France.

French protestors at Rouhani’s Europe visit

The demonstration was organized by labor unions, left-wing groups and associations of Iranians who oppose the regime. Many of the participants held aloft photos of Iranian activists imprisoned in Iran or activists executed there in the past two years, since Rouhani was elected president.

One of the demonstration’s leaders said about 2,000 people have been executed in Iran since Rouhani became president, and that Tehran maintains a policy of arresting those who criticize the government.

The demonstration joins a massive campaign in French media and social networks against Rouhani’s visit. The campaign focuses on the violation of human rights in Iran and on its support for terrorism.

France’s main newspapers – Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation — all published over the past two days editorials stating that Iran has not changed and has not yet become a progressive and liberal country with which France can renew relations, especially against the backdrop of Iranian ties with Hezbollah’s military wing and its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Paul Bronfman

It is sad to note that Canada too has retreated from its previous “Golden Age” of pro-Israel activism under the new Trudeau government.  However it is gratifying to note that Paul Bronfman, a well-known and influential Jewish philanthropist has withdrawn his support from Toronto’s York University over an antisemitic mural which the University governors refused to remove: (h/t Earl):

Paul Bronfman, founder of Comweb, a group of integrated entertainment firms providing production related services, studio facilities, and equipment to the film and television, learned of the mural only last week, despite the fact that it has been on display for almost three years.

However, he told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that he has long been aware of York University’s reputation as a campus with strong pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel activism.

The artwork, which hangs prominently in the York University’s Student Centre was created by a student named Ahmad Al Abid, who graduated in 2013. Titled, “Palestinian Roots,” the large painting shows a young man (shown from the rear, and from the shoulders down) wearing a keffiyah decorated with the Palestinian flag and a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza—with no border demarcations. The man gazes out at a scene including hills, a bulldozer in front of a building, and a tree. In his hands, which are behind his back, he holds stones. At the bottom are the words for “peace” and “justice” in a variety of languages, including Hebrew and Arabic.

“My inspiration for this piece is the ongoing issue in Palestine where illegal settlement expansions have become common. These expansions come at the expense of uprooting century old olive trees, trees intertwined with the roots of the Palestinian people,” the artist said in a statement on the Student Centre’s website.

Bronfman said he contacted the university’s president Mamdouh Shoukri on January 19 to express his concern about the mural.

“It’s an anti-Semitic piece of garbage and it offends me as a Jew and as a Canadian. It should offend all Canadians,” Bronfman said.

“If a mural condoning violence against any other nation was hung on campus, it would rightfully be condemned. Only when it pertains to Jews do we see this disturbing double standard,” Danielle Shachar a York University psychology student and Israel advocate told the Canadian Jewish News in December of last year.

Bronfman told the university that unless the artwork was removed by January 22, he would withdraw tens of thousands of dollars of donated equipment and educational services that one of his companies, William F. White International, had been providing the university’s cinema and media arts department.

“The administration just gave me a bunch of bureaucratic jargon. They told me they appreciated my concern, blah, blah, blah,” Bronfman reported about his conversation with the administration.

When the mural was still hanging last Friday, Bronfman wrote to Shoukri to confirm that he was withdrawing his support from the university.

I love the way Bronfman had the last word:

Bronfman doesn’t believe there is anything to further explore or discuss with regard to the image. To him, the painting’s message is clear, as is what he believes should be done about it.

“It’s bloody simple to see that it’s anti-Semitic. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that. York should be ashamed of itself that it is still hanging there,” he said.

If only Israel could recruit Paul Bronfman to work as its Hasbara Minister, along with the likes of Danny Danon and other famously outspoken Israelis, our diplomatic standing might look a whole lot better.

And even if it didn’t improve, at least we would feel better with the morale boost that comes with speaking our minds and telling the anti-Semites what we really feel.

Posted in Antisemitism, Incitement, International relations, Iran, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Palestinian resistance heroes terrorists murder another defenceless Israeli woman

Shlomit Krigman Hy’d, murdered in Bet Horon by Palestinian terrorists

Yesterday another sickening terror attack took place, this time inside Bet Horon, an Israeli community in the Binyamin region. The target was outside a grocery store (gasp! How DARE those eeevil israeli settlers buy groceries!) where the terrorists went on a stabbing spree, seriously injuring two women, one of whom, Shlomit Krigman Hy’d, died of her injuries overnight.  In an escalation from previous attacks, these terrorists also carried pipe bombs for further attacks:

Here is the initial report from Arutz Sheva:

Two women were wounded in a stabbing attack that took place on Monday afternoon near Beit Horon, located to the northwest of Jerusalem in Samaria’s Binyamin district.

The two terrorists who conducted the attack, in which one victim was critically wounded and another moderately wounded, were shot by a security guard and later died of their wounds.

An improvised explosive was found shortly afterwards adjacent to the scene of the attack by security forces. A police bomb-squad member was rushed to the scene to dismantle the explosive, and residents were asked to stay indoors.

Shortly afterwards a second explosive, described as a pipe bomb, was also located, followed shortly afterwards by a third explosive device discovered nearby.

The terrorists were thwarted from continuing with their murderous rampage by the  brave shopkeeper – who fought them off with his shopping cart!

The owner described those terrifying minutes:

“I don’t know where I got the courage,” he told Channel 2 in an interview inside the store. “But there were children in the store, women. Someone called out to me ‘terrorist, terrorist’. I didn’t think of anything but jumping out to make sure they didn’t get in. That was the only thing.”

Mordechai Shalem, hero grocery owner

Added Shalem: “It was scary. Scary, for sure. You see two people facing you with their knives raised. I saw the hatred in their eyes, the anger. I knew I had to stop them from getting in… I’d stop them with my body. If they’d got in, I dread to think what would have happened.

He said he faced off with the two assailants for what he estimated was 10 seconds. “They screamed at me ‘Allahu Akbar.’ I screamed back at them, ‘Get out of here, you dogs.’ They tried for 10 seconds to get in. I made sure they couldn’t. And then they internalized that the moment had passed. They ran off toward the homes in the settlement.

Mr. Shalem underestimates himself. He got the courage from his own morality, his determination to protect innocent civilians from murderous thugs. Thank G-d the terrorists were shot dead before they reached any residents’ homes and committed more bloodshed.

Sadly, Shalem’s efforts did not manage to save Shlomit Krigman Hy’d. She was described as “beloved, sweet, full of light”:

The death of 23-year-old Shlomit Krigman, who sustained serious injuries during a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon Monday and died of her wounds Tuesday morning, left the young woman’s friends and relatives shaken, as they grieved and recalled her warm heart, artistic nature, and her social conscience.

She was a caring person, close and caring toward her friends,” Einat Dermer told the NRG news site. “She was just a person who wanted everything to be good, and she did that in her own way.”

Krigman, who had previously served as a group leader for the Bnei Akiva Youth Group in Beit Horon, was spending time with her grandparents in the settlement when she was attacked, according to a message from the community sent out Tuesday morning.

Though originally from the West Bank settlement of Shadmot Mehola, located in the Beit She’an Valley, Krigman spent much time in Beit Horon, outside Jerusalem, and was seen as a resident by many who lived in the small settlement.

“Shlomit, your address may have been in Shadmot Mehola, but you were without a doubt a resident of Beit Horon,” one resident wrote on Facebook in tribute to her. “Shlomit, part of the landscape of Beit Horon, a smiling, quiet flower who brightened up her surroundings.”

Krigman had recently completed her bachelors degree at the University of Ariel, and was trying to decide on a path to pursue in the field.

“Shlomit, a daughter of Shadmot Mehola, was a sweet and gentle girl,” Matti Carmi, a close personal friend, told Ynet. “She studied industrial design at Ariel and displayed an amazing final project; she built a mobile library. She was a talented girl, sociable and loved by everyone.”

Krigman’s funeral was scheduled for 1 p.m. at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot Cemetery. She is survived by her parents and her six siblings.

Shlomit’s friends spoke of their shock at her loss, of her good heart:

Her close friend Einat Dermer says that Krigman “was a considerate person who cared about her friends. She always wanted everything to be better. I am in complete shock.

“It hasn’t sunk in. When they called me I was certain that it was to tell me she was engaged. She had such a good heart and was so empathetic to those around her. She was very creative. I still can’t imagine returning home without Shlomit,” she added in tears.

Others in the community said, “We are supporting and embracing the Krigman family. With all the pain and the sadness in losing Shomit hy”d, it is important that the enemy knows we are only getting stronger and more determined to keep our legitimate communities throughout the country, including in the Jordan Valley.

What a dreadfully sad loss to her family, to two wonderful Jewish communities and to the Jewish nation. May her family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they (and we all) know no more sorrow.

The blog This Ongoing War wondered what our “peace partners”, the Palestinian Authority, think of these cowardly terrorists? The answer is not too difficult to work out. Why, they are brave resistance heroes, to be emulated by the young and impressionable: (emphasis added in 4th paragraph):

Yesterday, in the small Beit Horon community (population: about 1,300, and a long Jewish history) that abuts the busy commuter route, a pair of Palestinian Arab men with terror on their minds made their way unhindered into the heart of the neighborhood – evidently via a breach in its periphery fence or by climbing over – towards the makolet, the local grocery store. This is the fourth attack in a week in which Arabs have brought their terror right inside Israeli communities; the others were in Tekoa, Otniel and Anatot/Almon.

They stopped briefly to place several home-made explosive devices just outside the shop. Just before or after that, they evidently spotted two women, one walking along the sidewalk, a second one in the nearby car park, and stabbed them both brutally. Security camera footage [here] shows them then being stopped at the entrance to the makolet by its proprietor aided by what he had at hand – a shopping cart. This worked. Sometime very soon after that, a security guard shot them both. They are now dead.

We know the attackers’ names. Arabic-language news sources [here, for instance] say they are Osama Ibrahim Yousef Allan, 23, from nearby Beit Ur al-Tahta [بيت عور التحتى] and Hussein Mohamed Abu Ghosh, 17, from Qalandiya, an Arab neighbourhood from which a stream of killers, stabbers and would-be jihadists have emerged in recent months (most recently mentioned in our blog here, here and here.)

It’s reported that they posted on Facebook in the hours before the murderous attack that they were “going to hunt porcupines“. One of the thugs was immediately claimed [see poster] as “son, martyr, hero” by Fatah, the terrorist band headed by PA president Mahmoud Abbas. Their photos, part of the process of elevating armed thuggery to something higher and worthy of emulation, already began popping up across the Arabic media [here, for instance] in the hours after the terrorism.

Knowing how these matters work, there is no room for doubt that their stabbing of two unarmed women makes them heroes in the perverted society from which they emerged, starting at its highest levels. Their deaths at the hands of a security guard turns them in martyrs with custom posters for family and friends to admire.

The PA “President-for-life” later came out in open support of these murderers:

After this series of attacks PM Binyamin Netanyahu has instructed the army to prepare a plan to increase settlement security.

But defensive measures are no longer enough. There are several other obvious solutions that come to mind although you may think I’ve turned into a raging Islamophobic racist. But I don’t see any other way out of this intifada, and it is clear that the government’s lukewarm responses are not improving the situation one bit. I am also sure my ideas will be rejected due to being politically incorrect and/or liable to enrage the Left/the UN/the US Administration/the EU/any other alphabet soup you can think of. But here goes:

For example:

  • Israeli roads which are open to Palestinians, despite the Palestinians having their own access roads, should be closed forthwith to all Palestinians until the security situation is improved to a situation where Israelis can feel safe; and
  • after each attack the government should expropriate a preset area of several hectares and hand it over to Israelis; and/or
  • after each attack the government should authorize a new settlement in the area of the terrorists’ hometown; and/or
  • after each attack the homes of the terrorists should be razed immediately – without delays and interminable appeals in the courts.

As I said above, these suggestions sound, and indeed are, draconian. But the terrorists didn’t allow any appeal or justice to their victims. Measure for measure sounds appropriate, don’t you think?

Posted in Incitement, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tu Bishvat Higia!

"My" almond tree, the shkedia, in blossom

“My” almond tree, the shkedia, in blossom

Today is Tu Bishvat (or Tu B’Shvat), the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat, known as “the birthday of the trees” in Jewish tradition. The tree most associated with Tu B’Shvat is the almond tree, in Hebrew the Shkedi’a (שקדיה), which blossoms on or around that date. The letters forming the root of the word – ש-ק-ד – mean “early”, indicating that the almond tree is the earliest one to blossom. “My” almond tree across the road indeed blossoms faithfully every year on Tu B’Shvat, sometimes seemingly overnight. This year it went a bit mad. It blossomed over a month ago, then shed its leaves, and then blossomed again over Shabbat! I think it needs a new body clock… :-)   It really is miraculous how the tree bursts into blossom literally overnight. I get such a kick from seeing it. :-)

Here is what I wrote about the holiday in previous years (with a few minor changes):

The halachic (legal) importance of the day was to know from which date to start counting in order to calculate when to give tithes, for example – different tithes are given in different days in a 7 year cycle, ending with the Shmita (fallow) year. Tu Bishvat is used as the date for calculating the age of trees, especially fruit trees, and other plants in order to know when it is permissible to eat of their fruits, and for tithing purposes.

In Jewish tradition the day is a minor holiday, with no special rules and regulations and was almost unmarked in olden times since the Jewish people were expelled from the land of Israel into the Diaspora, around the year 70 CE. However, with the growth of Zionism and the re-establishment of a Jewish settlement in Israel, first under the Ottomans, and later under the British Mandate, the early Jewish pioneers decided to adopt Tu B’Shvat as a symbol of the renewal of the physical (as well as spiritual) reconnection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Equally as important, the day symbolized the creation of the “New Jew”, one who worked the land, farmed and produced his own crops and fruits.

One of the customs of Tu Bishvat, even in olden times in the Diaspora, is to eat either the 7 species of produce native to Israel, or to eat 15 different kinds of fruit to represent the 15th day of Shvat. The “shivat haminim” are listed in the Torah, Deuteronomy 8 v. 7-8:

כי ה’ אלוקיך מביאך אל ארץ טובה ארץ נחלי מים עינות ותהומות יוצאים בבקעה ובהר. ארץ חיטה ושעורה וגפן ותאנה ורימון ארץ זית שמן ודבש.

For the L-rd your –d is bringing you to a good land, a land of rivers of water, fountains and deep wells coming out of the valley and mountain. A land of wheat and barley, and the vine and fig and pomegranate, a land of olive oil and honey (dates).

Around this verse another tradition has been reintroduced: the Tu Bishvat Seder. This tradition started with the growth and development of Kabala and is slowly gaining popularity, especially in Israel.

Last night we made a small Tu Bishvat Seder of sorts with a selection of fruits, nuts, whole wheat bread (wheat is one of the 7 species of Israel), olive oil (I had forgotten to get olives) and of course wine.

Fruits and nuts for the Tu B’Shvat Seder

Here is an excerpt about the Tu B’Shvat Seder tradition:(the link is also provided above):

Kabbalists from the northern Israeli city of Safed in northern Israel created the ritual of the Tu B’Shevat seder to celebrate the idea that even God’s smallest creations—be they tree, pomegranate, or date—are all equal within nature’s grand web. The initial ritual was outlined in “Peri Etz Hadar” (Fruit of the Goodly Tree), part of an anthology of Kabbalistic customs called the “Heindat Yamun.”


To fully appreciate nature’s bounty, Kabbalists matched up Israel’s regional fruit to symbolize the four physical elements: air, earth, water, and fire.

  • Assiyah, or earth, is symbolized by fruits or nuts with an outer shell and fruit within. This includes walnuts, pomegranates, pistachios, and coconuts.
  • Yetzirah, or water, is symbolized by fruits with edible outer flesh and inedible cores. This includes cherries, apricots, olives, and plums.
  • Briyah, or air, is symbolized by fruit that is entirely edible. This includes apples, pears, figs, and raisins.
  • Atzilut, or fire, is not symbolized by fruit but by things that represent God’s presence all around us. This can include smelling something natural like pine, cedar, or spices.


“Trees are so important in Jewish thought that the Torah itself is called ‘a tree of life.’ Perhaps this Torah wisdom can help us think more wisely about using these resources carefully and living in a more sustainable way,” write Dr. Akiva Wolff and Rabbi Yonatan Neri in their article “Trees, Torah, and Caring for the Earth” as part of Jewcology’s “Year of Jewish Learning on the Environment.”

Tu B’Shvat commemorates another important date – it is the birthday of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. The first elections to the Knesset were held on Tu B’shvat.

The most popular way of celebrating Tu B’shvat in Israel today is by planting trees, and usually ceremonies are held all over country, particularly by young children. Last year was was a Shmitta year, the “fallow year” which occurs every 7 years, when no planting takes place. But this year, unfortunately it looks like the tree-planting ceremonies will be postponed if not cancelled outright as a huge storm, with the first snow of the season, is sweeping Israel.  There will doubtless be many disappointed children, but on the other we really need this rain.

The Israel Meteorological Service predicted snow in Jerusalem and the Negev mountains starting Monday night and continuing into Tuesday and Wednesday, along with strong winds and the risk of flash floods in the desert riverbeds of the Negev and West Bank. Temperatures are expected to rise only on Thursday.

Heavy winds were reported in the coastal city of Ashdod on Sunday while authorities in the southern seaside town of Ashkelon ensured machinery was ready in the event of flooding. The town suffered serious floods in November and December, amid new records for precipitation in a single hour.

Snow began dusting Mount Hermon’s ski slopes Sunday morning, and the site was closed to visitors, while thunderstorms and even hail were predicted as far south as the northern Negev.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told staff to intensify efforts to identify homeless people and teenagers sleeping outside and to out them up in community centers until the storm has passed.

“Snow in Jerusalem is a cause for celebration for Jerusalemites, and we expect to see the most beautiful city in the world covered in white,” he said in a statement. “We call on all residents to prepare for the snow, prepare as necessary, show responsibility, and follow the instructions of the municipality and rescue services.”

The municipality canceled tree-planting ceremonies to mark the festival of Tu Bishvat, the NRG news site reported, while the Education Ministry ordered school trips to be diverted to places where snow or floods were not expected.

On the other hand, my own grandchildren were ahead of the game and got planting in their community of Peduel while the weather was still fine last week.  :-)

Tehila planting

An interesting project launched in honour of Tu Bishvat – surely an “only in Israel” moment –  is the Agriculture Ministry’s Tree Heritage website and app:

In honor of Tu Bishvat, the Agriculture Ministry launched its Tree Heritage website and smartphone application on Sunday.

They are part of an online project to identify and tell the stories behind thousands of trees around the country with a unique connection to Israeli and Jewish history and culture.

With 1,457 trees currently in the system, anyone in the Hebrew-speaking public can browse an online map and learn about the unique trees around the country or even around the corner.

The Tree Heritage map pinpoints the locations of different, significant trees around Israel and highlights trees that are especially old or historically important in either Judaism, Christianity or Islam.

The oldest tree in the system is a 2,000-year-old jujube tree ( “Ziziphus spina-christi” “sheizaf” in Hebrew) in Ein Hatseva, near the Dead Sea.

Jujube tree

A 2,000-year-old Jujube tree (“Ziziphus spina-christi” or “Sheizaf” in Hebrew) located in Ein Hatseva, near the Dead Sea. (credit: Israel Galon/Agriculture Ministry)

Haggai Snir, who oversees forestry at the ministry said that in Israel, every tree has a story.

“If only one knows how to understand a tree’s story, it can ‘tell’ the history of everything that happened around it,” he said.

What a fascinating and innovative idea! Kol hakavod to the Agriculture Ministry and the team behind this development.

Dvora Waysman in the Jerusalem wishes the trees Happy Birthday and provides us more background to this happy holiday:

Until Jews began to return to Eretz Israel in 1948, no-one thought of them as farmers.

For nearly 2,000 years we had been dispersed throughout the world, and in many places were not permitted to own land or engage in agriculture.

But in ancient Israel, we were an agricultural people. We treasured the olive tree, the grape vine and the date palm. The Bible encouraged us to plant “all manner of trees” and forbade the destruction of trees of a conquered land.

Just as we believe that on the first day of the seventh month, Rosh Hashana, we are judged and our fate for the coming year inscribed in the Book of Life, so we are taught to believe that trees are similarly judged on the New Year of the trees, which occurs on 15th of Shvat (this year January 25), called Tu Bishvat, the first day of spring.

This semi-holiday has always been associated with tree planting. In ancient times, one planted a tree at the birth of a child… cedar for a boy; cypress for a girl. Special care was given to these trees on Tu Bishvat, and when the children married branches of their own trees were cut for the wedding canopy.

It is said that on 15th of Shvat the sap begins to rise in the fruit trees in Israel. So we partake of the fruits of the Land… apples, almonds, carobs, figs, nuts, dates and pomegranates.

The pious among us stay up very late on the eve of the holiday reciting passages from the Bible that deal with trees and the fertility of the earth. We read the story of how trees and plants were created (Genesis 1:11-18); the divine promise of abundance as a reward for keeping the commandments (Leviticus 26: 3-18: Deuteronomy 8: 1-10) and the parable of the spreading vine which symbolizes the people of Israel (Ezekiel 17).

No religion has closer ties to agriculture and ecology than Judaism.

In fact, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai once declared: “If you hold a sapling in your hand and hear that the Messiah has arrived, plant the sapling first and only then go and greet the Messiah.”

With these wise words I wish you Happy Tu Bishvat, and to our trees I say Happy Birthday!

I leave you with Dry Bones’ cute take on this:

Happy Birthday trees!

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Israel news, Judaism, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Antisemitism makes you stupid

Perhaps I should have turned my headline round to read that antisemites are stupid in the first place, but I feel it works whichever way you look at it.

Two prime examples occurred in England this past week. In the prestigious Kings College of London University, not a place which one would have considered to be a hotbed of anti-Israel activity, a speech by Ami Ayalon, formerly head of Israel’s Shin Bet and currently a leftist peace activist, was violently interrupted by a gang of pro-Palestinian (read: anti-Israel and anti-Jewish) activists (read: thugs) who screamed, ranted, raved and threw objects including chairs into the hall until the police were summoned and brought matters under control.

Anti-Israel activists riot and break a window at Kings College during Ami Ayalon’s speech to the Israel Society


The British blogger and pro-Israel activist Richard Millett documented the entire event and it is a shocking and scary thing to behold.

I was patiently queuing for Ami Ayalon’s joint KCL and LSE Israel Societys’ talk outside the Norfolk Building of King’s College, London tonight. I had arrived early and was near the front of the queue but soon the doors were closed as the room held only 50.

50 to 60 people were left shut outside on the street, among them 15 fuming anti-Israel activists who had planned to get in and disrupt the talk.

These activists from SOAS, KLC and LSE Palestine Societies had already handed out leaflets attacking Ami Ayalon and Israel. But with their being shut outside chaos ensued with the police being called.

The activists’ leaflets, after falsely incriminating Ayalon and Shin Bet in war crimes, accused Ayalon of being “overtly racist” for supporting a two state solution because this implies “Israeli Jews must always be a majority…due to a fear of losing the ethnic and colonial supremacy Israel has enjoyed since 1948”.

As soon as the doors shut the frustrated anti-Israel activists pounded the doors and the windows looking into the talk. They screamed “Free Free Palestine”, “Viva Viva Palestina” and “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” and smashed a window.

They then climbed the windows to unfurl a banner. A fire alarm was set off and eventually police vans and police cars pulled up and 20 police constables protected the building.

Ayalon’s talk lasted an hour. Ironically, Ayalon was talking in front of a white board describing the rules for “safe spaces” at universities. But there is no “safe space” for an Israeli-Jew at British universities.

You can see the horrifying video below:

What makes this particular demonstration more interesting than your common-or-garden anti-Israel riot, and goes to prove my thesis that anti-Israel bigots are stupid,  is that the activists were protesting against someone who ostensibly would be, if not on their side, then certainly sympathetic to their complaints and willing to listen to their grievances.

Edgar Davidson describes the irony of Ami Ayalon being the target of such a demonstration and explains how crawling to the Israel-haters does not save a person from being targeted – if that person is Israeli:

As I reported earlier Yachad is the anti-Zionist group (fraudulently claiming to be ‘pro-Israel’) that partners with B’Tselem who are so anti-Zionist that they hand over Arabs who sell land to Jews to be tortured and murdered by the Palestine Authority.

But, no matter how low Yachad stoops to kiss the boots of Israel haters it will never be low enough, and this was proved by what happened  yesterday at Kings College London. It is Yachad who  brought the leftist former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon to the UK for a lecture tour. Ayalon has been a vocal critic of the Israeli Government, demanding that Israel make major unilateral concessions to the Palestinians. His claim that Israel is ‘heading toward being an apartheid state’ is contributing to the international delegitimization campaign and much of what Ayalon has said has been used by Israeli haters in their propaganda. This includes his disgraceful contribution to the film the Gatekeepers which many believe was an act of treason against Israel. But while Yachad brought him to the UK to speak about Israel’s faults, Ayalon is still an Israeli who believes in a (much reduced) Jewish State. And in the eyes of our enemies that makes Ayalon a ‘war criminal’ who, like every other “Zionist”, must be silenced.

So Yachad – whose members are normally among those protesting when Israelis speak in the UK – found themselves on the receiving end of the Israel haters’ venom.

Davidson notes that the violence was so outrageous that the item was picked up even by the UK’s mainstream media – not known for their pro-Israel line. Of course the Guardian, as expected, did not see fit to mention this disgusting protest.

In addition to reports at the Jewish Chronicle, The AlgemeinerTimes of Israel, Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz, the story was covered by most major UK media outlets, including LBCEvening Standard, Huffington Post UKTimes of London, The Independent, The Telegraph, Daily Mail,Scottish Daily Mail, and even the BBC.

The BBC’s item is interesting for its fairly neutral video report of the riot. The Independent posted several tweets on the violent protest:

The University itself issued a statement, which, it is gratifying to note, takes the issue of Jewish students’ safety seriously:

Universities create environments in which debate from all sides on issues of political, scientific, moral, ethical and religious significance is possible, and King’s is no exception. The safety of our students, staff and the general public is paramount to us and we are committed to acting as a responsible organisation.

Professor Ed Byrne, President & Principal, has appointed Ian Creagh, Head of Administration and College Secretary, to conduct an urgent investigation of the events around last night’s talk to establish what happened and what action might need to be taken as a consequence. Professor Byrne will also be writing to students to remind them that violent protest is totally unacceptable and that we expect them to be tolerant and respectful of others’ views and opinions.

We are proud of our diverse community and are absolutely committed to respect for all of our staff and students and to peaceful and respectful dialogue where people have conflicting views. We do not, and will not, condone the use of any form of violent protest.’

Let’s see if they carry through on their promises.

On the same day as the anti-Israel riot in Kings College, a more sinister anti-Israel initative was promoted in the UK by a group of 71 doctors signing a letter demanding that Israel be expelled from the World Medical Association:

A group of 71 British physicians have begun to exert pressure on the World Medical Association (WMA) to revoke the membership of the Israel Medical Association (IMA), it was revealed in a Knesset meeting on Wednesday.

IMA representative Dr. Ze’ev Feldman announced the disturbing new step during a Knesset Science and Technology Committee meeting on the subject of boycotts against Israeli academic institutions.

“The sword of the boycott has been raised against the scientific medical community in Israel,” he declared, warning that Israel’s medical doctors are “in grave danger.”

“The professional British journals have adopted the idea of letters to the editor that libel Israel doctors,” he added. “They claim our doctors perform medical torture on Palestinian patients.”

Committee chairman MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) blasted the efforts of the anti-Israel British doctors, noting that “the phenomenon of academic boycotts is spreading and is connected to the economic and consumer boycotts against Israel.

Likud MK Anat Berko noted that the Israel boycott movement doesn’t discriminate against different political opinions, saying that “even when left-wing lecturers speak abroad, their lectures get blown up. It’s because they’re Jewish, no matter their political belief.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center issued this very pointed press release on the boycott attempt: (Via Harry’s Place):

“It is ironic that the WMA ethical programme was born in the wake of World War II, when Nazi doctors committed inhuman experiments on children, exterminated the handicapped and murdered six million Jews and others.”

“The prejudices of seventy one British doctors bent on Israel’s expulsion have turned them into ethics abortionists.”

I’m sure these 71 saintly medics took into account all the amazing medical devices and inventions that Israel has produced over the last decades and will not take advantage of their life-saving or life-enhancing qualities.

How to boycott Israel properly

How to boycott Israel properly

Another  occurrence of supreme anti-Israel stupidity happened in America last week where a national conference of gay activists cancelled an event with an Israeli gay association:

A Wider Bridge, which works to build connections with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and groups in Israel, says that the National LGBTQ Task Force canceled the reception with leaders of Jerusalem’s Open House, scheduled to be held at the Creating Change conference in Chicago, which takes place from Wednesday to Friday.

Israeli gays not welcome?

The organization announced over the weekend that it would move the reception, scheduled for Friday, to a new location outside the conference venue.

A Wider Bridge, in an email blast and a statement on its website, called for the event to be included on the conference’s program, and for an apology from the National LGBTQ Task Force for the cancellation.

“We are saddened by what appears to be capitulation to the intimidation of a small number of anti-Israel extremists who want to shut down the voices of those who don’t adhere to their rigid and exclusive party line. As LGBTQ people, we are all too familiar with being oppressed through shaming, the closet, and imposed silence, and we see great danger in allowing this kind of censorship and blatant double standard to become the norm in our community,” said Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge, in the statement.

Of course nowhere in the original announcement of the cancellation is it mentioned that only in Israel – in the entire Middle East – can gays of all preferences feel safe and have their rights ensured by law. The wilful blindness of the anti-Israel queer activists makes no sense logically besides being of course utterly bigoted on the moral plane.

A very interesting article by James Kirchik in Tablet Magazine talks about this incident and expands on the idiocy of the LGBT anti-Israel activists, and explains that the linking of all the radical-chic progressive causes with anti-Israel activity is called “intersectionality”. The author then  describes How Intersectionality Makes You Stupid: (emphases are mine):

This is an edifying moment for gays, Jews, and the broader left. Were they to let this act of blatant discrimination stand, the leaders of the Task Force would have betrayed all these communities by succumbing to the heckler’s veto. In the loftier precincts of progressive journalism, higher education, and the non-profit world, those hecklers tend to be proponents of “intersectionality,” a voguish theory purporting that power is inextricably linked to aspects of identity like race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and that an individual’s “marginalization” is thus determined by their accumulation of various traits. Across the country, pseudo-intellectual totalitarians posing as outcasts regularly intimidate earnest but spineless liberals into capitulation. From the Oscar red carpet to Yale University quads, whoever shouts the loudest and claims victimization on account of more facets of their identity can expect to get what they demand, regardless of the quality or even logic of what they have to say.

[…] Because of intersectionality’s insistence that identity politics trumps all, reflexive condemnation replaces reasoned discussion, and those claiming to represent a higher good smother the rights of individuals. Likewise, intersectionality compels one to adopt agendas that have nothing to do with his or her own. Worse, in the name of “solidarity” with other supposedly “oppressed” groups, it leads to alliances with those actively hostile to one’s cause. This is how a gay rights organization led by well-meaning progressives can be duped into disinviting private citizens of the one country in the Middle East respecting the humanity of gays, all at the behest of people who use cultural relativism to excuse Muslim societies that throw homosexuals from the tops of buildings. Denouncing A Wider Bridge as an “Israel advocacy organization,” Spade accused it of promoting a “regime producing colonization and genocide,” a morally scandalous statement not just for its tacit comparison of Jews to Nazis, but also its deliberate elision of the very real genocides taking place in nearby Islamic lands. In a world of people who want to murder them for being Jewish, denying the rights of Jews—and Jews alone—to live their own national life is a moral evil no different than targeting LGBT people or anyone else for being who they are—and that would be true even if Israel wasn’t the sole bastion of LGBT rights in the Middle East.

Read the rest of Kirchik’s article for his recommendations on how to combat this “intersectionality” and how the Jews can and should stand up for their rights without letting themselves be intimidated. But the above paragraphs on their own are sufficient to explain the phenomenon.

The concept certainly explains the stupidity of the anti-Israel and anti-Jews “activists” (read: haters and bigots) but it does not excuse them.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, Lawfare and Delegitimization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Good News Friday

I’m having great difficulty in posting any good news this week, but still, it’s Friday, and I don’t want to skip a Good News Friday post. So I’m going to take the easy way out and post some incredible posts from Facebook from supporters of Israel.

The first two posters are not Jewish, but their strong, public and steadfast love for Israel and the Jews is almost unparalleled in this day and age.

Ryan Bellerose (on the left) at a Stand With Us event. (He doesn’t believe in wearing long trousers if he can possibly avoid it)

Ryan Bellerose is an indigenous rights activist from the far north of Canada, who fights for the rights of his own Metis nation, and became involved in the indigenous rights for the Jewish People. I quote from his Israellycool description where he is a contributor:

A member of the indigenous Metis people, Ryan grew up in the far north of Alberta, Canada with no power nor running water. Ryan was unsure if his real name was “Go get water!” or “Go get wood!” In his free time, Ryan plays Canadian Rules Football , reads books, does advocacy work for indigenous people and does not live in an Igloo.

It was Ryan that I first got to learn the concept of the Jewish People’s indigenous rights in Israel. It was something that I felt instinctively but did not have the knowledge or the background to express it. It is highly worthwhile reading his introductory post where he explains “Israel Palestine: Who’s indigenous?”. First he brings the criteria for defining an indigenous nation, and then he explains why this applies to the Jews:

Let us now look quickly at the Jews. How do they fit this definition?

  • Their lands were occupied, first by the Romans, then by the Arabs in the seventh century.
  • They share common ancestry with previous occupants as determined by several genetic studies.
  • Their culture can be traced directly to the Levant, where it developed into what is now known as “Jewish culture.” While different Jewish communities have slightly different traditions, they all share the same root culture, and it remains unchanged. They have resurrected their traditional language, and while many still speak Yiddish and Ladino, Hebrew has become the primary language again.
  • They have spiritual ties to the land, which plays a large role in their traditions as a people.

Despite all the arguments about “European” Jews, they in fact meet all the criteria set forth by Martínez-Cobo. Even though Israel is the first modern indigenous state, it still has lands that are occupied by foreigners in Judea and Samaria. Those are ancestral lands and, many feel that they should be returned to the indigenous peoples for self-determination.

As far as I’m concerned it was Ryan who brought the whole idea of Jewish indigenous rights into the public sphere, and all credit is due to him for persisting with this concept to the extent that the Jews’ indigenous rights have now become the accepted viewpoint in pro-Israel circles. Now that message has been internalized by ourselves, we are able to promote it further in order to combat the drip-drip of international delegitimization of our natural rights in Israel.

Ryan is currently in Israel on a visit and speaking tour with Stand With Us, (on one of his tours he unfortunately fell and broke his arm) and here are a couple of Ryan’s recent Facebook posts. I highly recommend you follow him. (In all the Facebook posts below, if the entire text does not appear, click “see more” for the rest to unfold).

I missed Ryan’s speech in Bet Shemesh last week but I plan on attending next week’s event in Jerusalem if I can possibly help it. (they got the date wrong in the blurb beneath the photo):

Here is the video of his excellent presentation in Bet Shemesh:

We can count ourselves extremely lucky to have such a stalwart friend on our side.

Farhana Rahman, a proud Muslim stalwart supporter of Israel

Another incredible supporter of Israel is this Muslim (!) woman who appears to have fallen in love with our country. :-)  She wrote a Facebook post about her love for “magical Israel” which went viral:

Farhana Rahman, a young Muslim woman from New York who is employed in an Israeli mobile app startup named Zula, posted a Facebook status full of boundless love for the state of Israel and its citizens Sunday. For those demoralized by the news these days, it is a true must-read.

“As I am typing this,” she wrote upon returning to the US from her second-ever trip to Israel, “my heart is still pounding quite hard, and there is still that yearning to go back.”

What followed was an exuberant post full of love for the Jewish state and its residents:

“Muslim me went to the heart of Israel, and exploded- with emotions. And with sentiment,” she declared.

“Because everyone loved me. Everyone went out of their way to love me. No one could dare say that my online friends in Israel aren’t real friends. Because yes they are. It’s insulting for me to even refer to them as my friends. It is also insulting for me to refer to them as my family. They are a part of me. My lifeblood. They collectively transformed me into a much better version of myself.

Jews help people outside the tribe

She continued: “Many wonderful people traveled far and wide to see me. I didn’t want to bother anyone by asking for their time in my last-minute trip, but that didn’t stop them. They put their workloads and beautiful families aside, and came to see me and spend time with me in all crazy hours. I ended up falling for each of them even more than before, because they were all genuinely delighted over the fact that I was there. Probably even more delighted than I was.

“I don’t use the term ‘friendship’ lightly. I know I am saying it a lot here. I am far from popular, that’s for sure. But here’s how the culture in Israel works: If people know you, they love you. Well, you obviously have to be a good person. But anyway, everyone lifts everyone else up. You know those stereotypes of Jews only helping Jews and that’s why they are all successful and blah blah? Well I am solid proof that they wholeheartedly help people outside of the tribe as well.”

“And why don’t we all take a lesson from them?”, Farhana suggested, in a monologue that soothes hearts:

“Jews weren’t the only oppressed people that faced injustices in different points in time,” she observed. “Everyone was. And still is. Let’s all help build each other up as they do!

As for the “apartheid state” trope that is constantly repeated by anti-Israelis – Farhana had this to say:

“It’s almost crazy how many Muslim women I saw driving, shopping independently, studying, working, and enjoying life in Israel. Freedoms they couldn’t even dream of elsewhere in the Mideast. And yes, many of them were all burka’ed out to the nines. Also, it’s way safer to walk outside late at night in most parts of Israel, than in NY. Because the people are civil and good. If you reply with anything contradictory, I’ll simply ignore cause that won’t be worth my time.

“Anyway, I went to businesses run by Jews, and got great customer service. I went to businesses run by Muslims. Also got great service. Customers were mixed everywhere, and everyone got along just fine. Interestingly enough, in both cases, the shop owners/staff weren’t able to figure out whether I was a Muslim or Jew. I took that as a compliment.

“I didn’t think it would be possible for me to love Israel and her people more than before. But yep. This trip did it. Does that make me a Zionist? Probably. You will be surprised how many other Zionist Muslims I came across there. So bring it on haters, bring it on. I will stand at the front line for the chosen people. And after the smoke clears, we will cuddle and play board games together while enjoying bourekas and lemonade with mint.”

Her words bring tears to my eyes. But that’s not all! In a subsequent Facebook post Farhana tells us about the huge number of positive reactions she received in response to her initial post.

Kol hakavod Farhana. If only more Muslims, in fact more people everywhere in the world, were like you, who can see Israel for what she really is, who can view us without the filter of “apartheid”, “colonialism” and all the other modern-day epithets thrown at us.

We look forward to your next visit!

And to conclude, here is our very own Caroline Glick in this (undated) video. I’m not certain when this  video was made, but the message is timeless and so relevant in these days of defamation and delegitimization of Israel, and especially of the communities in Judea and Samaria.


With these stirring thoughts, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Israel news, Slice of Israeli life, support Israel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment