This column is posted on the 10th. Tomorrow, eight years ago, we suffered the worst attack as a nation since Pearl Harbor.
Tomorrow, our President has decided to avoid acknowledging our hurt, anger and righteous indignation, and turn the day into a celebration instead to a call for national service.
Not in the military. Most Dems are allergic to the material in military uniforms. Instead the people who purchase ACORN thugs will de-militarize the day.
Not so here.
Perhaps you would like to be reminded of why we are outraged that our Homie-girl at Homeland Security thinks we on the right who are veterans of foreign wars are potential terrorists; why we want the war on terror to not be called off as she has done, but to see it re-invigorated.
9/10/2009 - Honoring 9/11; Obamacare corruption; Lebanon; Attack!?
Please don’t tell me that these photos are two gruesome. Of course they are horrific. But the terrorist leaders who did this are still out there planning to attack us again.
Furthermore, we should be aware that 9/11 needs to be remembered so we can be alert, reminded of the high cost of vigilance, and pay tribute to the people who perished.
Obama is under the impression that his force of personality (cultic and mesmerizing to some) is enough to make most (52% at last count) Americans change their minds and like his forced healthcare law that is a make it or break it for him.
I didn’t see the speech to a joint session of Congress. Heard a little piece of it. Noted tons of sound bites, very little to convince me to like the plan, and nothing to make me trust the man who lies professionally.
What was great was that he picked out Sarah Palin and called her a liar, by referencing her comments on “death panels.” That should boost her in the polls.
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu disappeared for ten hours this week. It was later disclosed that he had taken a private jet to Moscow for private talks with Russia’s leaders. No one is telling all yet, but the rumor mill says it was because Israel wants to let the Ruskies know they are planning to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. (More on these two subjects later.)
We’re traveling again this week. Fortunately it won’t interfere with our radio or column work, but it does get tiresome.
When I was a kid lying on the bank of a farm pond and dreaming of being inside of the shiny jets that left their contrails in our southern Illinois sky, it all looked so captivating.
Years later when I was sitting in the leather seats on 707s and being served by friendly stewardesses it was exciting as we traversed the world.
Today though most are very professional, there are too many who are surly and dictatorial. We were on a flight between Tampa and Miami last year when a passenger grabbed his carry on and started toward the exit after we landed. The stewardess shouted over the PA system for him to be seated IMMEDIATELY. She was right of course. It was too soon to be moving around.
The problem was that the fellow was about to miss his next flight. She shouted again. Finally he headed back to his seat. Then she shouted into the PA system for him to bring his bag back to the rear of the plane where she would see that he didn’t get it until everyone had disembarked. He pleaded, she got her way, and he missed his flight.
That’s a rare example of what we’ve seen. For the most part the workers at the airlines face unemployment like so many folks today. They remain patient and accommodating.
But the seats get more narrow and with less padding than ever. Some wag has said that they are four inches less than the space for a rower on a slave galley! I don’t know about that. I’ve learned to sit on the pillows, use my own MP3 player and noise-reducing headphones, and try to sleep some.
The meals get scrimpier but I don’t mind. I can stand to lose a few pounds. I am thankful when we get to our destinations, that I just praise the Lord for safety. A tip of my fedora to the good folks who work security around the world, keeping things moving and safe for those of us who must get from point A to point B.
FROM MY GRAND-DAUGHTER:
Two Quotes to Ponder:
'Life's tough......it's even tougher if you'restupid!'
-- John Wayne
'My friends, we live in the greatest nation in thehistory of the world. I hope you'll join with me aswe try to change it.'
-- Barack Obama
Unfortunately now we are beginning to understand what the second one means and what the first says about us......
CHURCH AND STATE, OBAMA STYLE:
This column by Mona Charen will give you lots to laugh at, not about.
Good thing we don’t mix religion and politics anymore.
By Mona Charen
Well, thank Heaven George W. Bush is no longer president! Gosh, all of that mixing of religion and politics darn near subverted our Constitution — which, as all good liberals know enshrines the “wall of separation” between church and state.
What? That phrase doesn’t appear in the Constitution? No matter. Democrats know that conservative Republicans, particularly Christians, are dangerous religious fanatics.
When Democrats invoke the Almighty, though, it’s altogether different. Religion in a Democrat is evidence of deep moral commitment, even of greatness. Many of the eulogies to Teddy Kennedy mentioned his “quiet Catholic faith.” His self-identified favorite parts of Scripture, we were told, were “Matthew 25 through 35: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty and you gave me to drink.’”
The Democrats, perhaps as a political Hail Mary pass in light of the resistance health-care reform has encountered, are now hitting the religion angle pretty hard. At a Tennessee fundraiser over the weekend (at which Bill Clinton arrived early — a modern miracle if you’re looking for one), the reunited team of Clinton and Al Gore pushed health-care reform as a “moral imperative.” Playing off the Kennedy eulogies, Gore invoked the Christian obligation to care for “the least of these” as the force behind H.R. 3200.
President Obama too has donned the preacher’s mantle. Speaking to a coalition of 30 faith-based groups, he thundered that opponents of health-care reform were “frankly, bearing false witness.” He then offered a religious justification for his policy preference that somehow failed to make liberal Democrats uncomfortable about church/state entanglement: “These are all fabrications that have been put out there in order to discourage people from meeting what I consider to be a core ethical and moral obligation: that is, that we look out for one another; that is, I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. And in the wealthiest nation in the world right now we are neglecting to live up to that call.”
But the president really hit his stride when he spoke by conference call to about a thousand mostly Reform rabbis, asking for their support of health-care reform when they address their congregations at the upcoming High Holiday services. As Tevi Troy blogged on National Review Online, the Jewish New Year observance features a prayer called U’netana tokef which reads, in part, “On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the Earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die...but repentance, prayer, and charity can remove the evil of the decree.”
According to Rabbi Jack Moline of Alexandria, Va., who Twittered the event but later removed his Tweets from the Internet, President Obama referenced this prayer and then told the rabbis that “I am going to need your help” in getting health-care reform passed. “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death,” the president added.
One cannot even fathom the sort of media firestorm that would have erupted if someone like Sarah Palin had said that. But beyond the blazing double standard, does President Obama really want to venture this deep into moralizing? This is treacherous ground for him. For one thing, a man who is already known for his messiah complex ought to choose his words more carefully. Religious people may think of themselves as striving to do God’s will, but declaring yourself God’s partner is a just a tad presumptuous. Besides, there are very good reasons to believe that Obama’s health reform would lead to worse outcomes, not improved care. More particularly, the administration has recently been drawn into controversy (rightly or wrongly) over “death panels” and also over the Veterans Affairs department’s endorsement of a pamphlet that seemed to encourage the elderly and frail to consider whether their lives were really worth extending and/or whether they were “a burden” to their families. In light of that, some may hear a degree of menace in the phrase “God’s partners.”
But above all, President Obama has previously told us that questions about life were “above his pay grade.” He has now pivoted to claim that his health-care reform is a matter of life and death. If he is now going to invoke religious authority, his opponents are entitled to recall not only that Barack Obama has a perfect pro-abortion voting record, but also that just a few years ago he spearheaded opposition to legislation that would have simply required that an infant who accidentally survived an abortion be given medical attention.
Some partner. (NRO.com)
“HIS WAX WINGS HAVE MELTED!”
When he came on the national scene, it was to make one unheralded speech at the Democrat Convention. Then Soros and others saw the makings of a “Manchurian Candidate” for the radical left. What has followed is current events 101.
Obama rose to “messianic” heights, to his followers, and obviously to himself. He obviously struck fear into the hearts of the Rockefeller Republicans. They melted at the thought of opposing such an one.
There was this deafening silence from the right, excepting talk radio heroes and Sarah Palin. In fact, not surprising most of us, one of Obama’s best defenders seems to be Senator John McCain.
But then King Obie stepped on the third rail. Senior citizens’ fears. It didn’t go according to script. Now his poll numbers are dropping, his invincibility is being recognized by some of the acolytes in the media, and lots of Americans are waking up to the fact that they voted VERY wrong.
Obama, the Mortal
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 4, 2009
What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?
The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership.
But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chávista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?
But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama's behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can't get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field.
In a center-right country, that was problem enough. Obama then compounded it by vastly misreading his mandate. He assumed it was personal. This, after winning by a mere seven points in a year of true economic catastrophe, of an extraordinarily unpopular Republican incumbent, and of a politically weak and unsteady opponent. Nonetheless, Obama imagined that, as Fouad Ajami so brilliantly observed, he had won the kind of banana-republic plebiscite that grants caudillo-like authority to remake everything in one's own image.
Accordingly, Obama unveiled his plans for a grand makeover of the American system, animating that vision by enacting measure after measure that greatly enlarged state power, government spending and national debt. Not surprisingly, these measures engendered powerful popular skepticism that burst into tea-party town-hall resistance.
Obama's reaction to that resistance made things worse. Obama fancies himself tribune of the people, spokesman for the grass roots, harbinger of a new kind of politics from below that would upset the established lobbyist special-interest order of Washington. Yet faced with protests from a real grass-roots movement, his party and his supporters called it a mob -- misinformed, misled, irrational, angry, unhinged, bordering on racist. All this while the administration was cutting backroom deals with every manner of special interest -- from drug companies to auto unions to doctors -- in which favors worth billions were quietly and opaquely exchanged.
"Get out of the way" and "don't do a lot of talking," the great bipartisan scolded opponents whom he blamed for creating the "mess" from which he is merely trying to save us. If only they could see. So with boundless confidence in his own persuasiveness, Obama undertook a summer campaign to enlighten the masses by addressing substantive objections to his reforms.
Things got worse still. With answers so slippery and implausible and, well, fishy, he began jeopardizing the most fundamental asset of any new president -- trust. You can't say that the system is totally broken and in need of radical reconstruction, but nothing will change for you; that Medicare is bankrupting the country, but $500 billion in cuts will have no effect on care; that you will expand coverage while reducing deficits -- and not inspire incredulity and mistrust. When ordinary citizens understand they are being played for fools, they bristle.
After a disastrous summer -- mistaking his mandate, believing his press, centralizing power, governing left, disdaining citizens for (of all things) organizing -- Obama is in trouble.
Let's be clear: This is a fall, not a collapse. He's not been repudiated or even defeated. He will likely regroup and pass some version of health insurance reform that will restore some of his clout and popularity.
But what has occurred -- irreversibly -- is this: He's become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He's regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.
For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment. Obama has become a politician like others. And like other flailing presidents, he will try to salvage a cherished reform -- and his own standing -- with yet another prime-time speech.
But for the first time since election night in Grant Park, he will appear in the most unfamiliar of guises -- mere mortal, a treacherous transformation to which a man of Obama's supreme self-regard may never adapt.
NEVER WASTE A GREAT CRISIS!
Something on this order was attributed to Rham Emmanuel. Repeated by Hillary Clinton like it came from the Oracle, it was nothing but typical, Chicago-thug politics.
Now we will no doubt see more of it as King Obie tries to rescue his dropping numbers from the awareness that is covering the nation that all is not well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and at the Congress.
One is wondering if they are observing DC or Moscow with some of the tactics.
Obama May Need Sense of Crisis to Revive Health-Care Overhaul
By Julianna Goldman and Nicholas Johnston
Facing polls showing a drop in his approval, diminished support from independents, factions within his Democratic Party and a united Republican opposition, Obama must recapture the sense of urgency that led to passage of the economic rescue package in February, analysts said.
“At the moment, except for the people without insurance, we’re not in a health-care crisis,” said Stephen Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington. “You do need a crisis to generate movement in Congress and to help build a consensus.”
Obama speaks to labor leaders on Sept. 7 and to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9 as he attempts to rebuild support for his top domestic priority, one that affects 17 percent of the economy. Lawmakers, trying to extend coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and rein in costs, are considering mandates on employers to provide coverage, new rules for insurers, and creating a government program to compete with private insurers such as Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.
Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the administration made unprecedented health-care progress in eight months.
‘Not There Yet’
“We gave Congress a charge, we gave them broad outlines, which is the reason we are farther along than any of the five presidents that have tried,” Emanuel said in an interview yesterday.
“We’re not there yet, and this speech is intended to finish the job.”
Presidential speeches historically do little to move public opinion significantly, said George Edwards, author of “The Strategic President: Persuasion and Opportunity in Presidential Leadership.”
“This is almost like a Hail Mary, because they know that they’re substantially behind and the trajectory is negative for them,” Edwards said.
Unlike the financial crisis he inherited, the health-care debate is of Obama’s making and places a different burden on him, Edwards said.
“The best thing in presidential leadership is to recognize and exploit opportunities,” said Edwards. “The White House overestimated the nature of the opportunity.” …
WISDOM FROM PROFESSOR BARRY RUBIN IN ISRAEL
Barry Rubin is a thinking man’s thinker. His observations are succinct and at times too pointed for comfort – at least by some. I, for one, love to read his work.
This piece is very educational.
The Region: America's obsession with dialogue
Sep. 6, 2009
Barry Rubin , THE JERUSALEM POST
On August 26, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly was asked what the US thought about the dispute between Iraq and Syria. His answer shockingly recalls the last time a US government made that mistake.
First, some background. Iraqi leader Nuri al-Maliki visited Syria on August 18 to discuss the two countries' relationship. He offered Syrian President Bashar Assad a lot of economic goodies in exchange for expelling 271 Iraqi exiles involved in organizing terrorist attacks against their country. Assad refused. Maliki left.
The next day, huge bombings struck Baghdad, directly targeting the Foreign and Finance Ministries. More than 100 Iraqis were killed and over 600 were wounded. The Iraqi government blamed the very same exiles living in Syria whom Maliki was trying to get kicked out and implicated the Syrian government directly in the attacks. The two countries recalled their ambassadors; the Iraqis are calling for an international tribunal to investigate.
Enter the US. Since the Iraqi government was created by elections made possible by the US invasion, since the same terrorists murdering Iraqis have killed American soldiers, and since Iraq is a US ally and Syria is a terrorist sponsor allied with Iran, what US reaction would you expect?
Why, support for Iraq, of course. For decades under several US presidents, Syria has been unsuccessfully pressed to kick out terrorists targeting Israel, and later Lebanon. This is an old issue and a very clear one for about a half-dozen reasons.
And what did the Obama administration do?
Declare its neutrality! Here's what Kelly said, reading from his State Department instructions: "We understand that there has been sort of mutual recall of the ambassadors. We consider that an internal matter. We believe that, as a general principle, that diplomatic dialogue is the best means to address the concerns of both parties. We are working with the Iraqis to determine who perpetrated these horrible acts of violence... We hope this doesn't hinder dialogue between the two countries."
BEFORE ANALYZING this response, let me tell you what it reminds me of. In 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was threatening Kuwait, demanding that the weaker neighbor surrender to an ultimatum. Iraq was no friend of America; Kuwait, though not an ally, was a state that had good relations with the US. A decade earlier, America had gone to the verge of war with Iran to protect Kuwait.
What did the US government say? This was a matter between Iraq and Kuwait in which the US wouldn't take sides.
A few days later, Saddam invaded and annexed Kuwait. At the time and afterward, everyone said: What a terrible mistake! The announcement of neutrality, the refusal to support a small threatened country against a bullying neighbor ruled by a dictatorship, gave a green light to Saddam and set off a war.
And now the Obama administration has done precisely the same thing. Of course, Syria won't invade Iraq, it will just keep welcoming, training, arming, financing, transporting and helping the terrorists who do so.
The Obama administration has declared the war on terrorism to be over. But it also said that the US viewed al Qaida and those working with it as enemies. The Syria-based Iraqi terrorists fall into that category. America sacrificed hundreds of lives for Iraq's stability. Most of those soldiers and civilian contractors were murdered by the very terrorists harbored by Syria.
HOW CAN the administration distance itself from this conflict instead of supporting its ally and trying to act against the very terrorists who have murdered Americans?
Nominally, of course, the cheap way out was to say: We don't know who did these particular bombings. Well, who do you think did it, men from Mars? Even this is not relevant since the Iraqi demand for the expulsion of the terrorists - who have committed hundreds of other acts - came before the latest attack even happened.
Moreover, the administration not only invoked its obsession with dialogue at any price but did so in an incorrect and dangerous manner. The Iraqi government had sought dialogue, had used diplomatic means and was turned down flat.
So is this administration incapable of criticizing Syria? Even if it wants to engage in talks with Syria, it doesn't understand that diplomacy is not inconsistent with pressure and criticism, tools to push the other side into concessions or compromises.
Looking at this latest development - along with many other policy statements and events during the new administration's term so far - how can any ally have confidence that the US government will support it if menaced by terrorism or aggression? It can't. The problem with treating enemies better than friends is that the friends start wondering whether their interests are better served by appeasing mutual enemies or mistreating an unfaithful ally which ignores their needs.
RING THE ALARM BELL. LEBANON MAY BE ABOUT TO BURST INTO FLAME – AGAIN.
Today the Lebanon PM-designate, Saad al-Hariri, the billionaire son of the man who was murdered in a car-bomb attack attributed to Syrian intelligence agents informed the President of Lebanon that he is resigning. He was unable to cobble together a coalition government, and so has to concede his possible government.
I remind you Westerners that under a parliamentary government, when the lead party in the election does not have enough votes to form a pure-majority he must then convince the leaders of other competing parties to join him.
Hariri is a moderate, not anti-western, but as one might well understand, terribly anti-Syrian. He had offered the Christians, the pro-Lebanon independents, and finally the terrorist group Hezbollah, which is funded and guided by Syria and Iran up to one third of Lebanon’s leadership.
They turned him down. That was smart from their perspective. They knew that without their cooperation he would have to resign and someone else try.
That someone else could likely be a Hezbollah puppet. That will turn Lebanon into another Iranian puppet government like Syria, and like the Gaza Hamas thugs.
It will, from Israel’s standpoint, mean that they are being enveloped by Iranian Shiite terrorists. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is getting stronger in that nation.
Jordan is so far able to fend off the majority-population Palestinians, but the rest of Israel’s borders are held by enemies.
What will Netanyahu do?
His Defense Minister, Ehud Barak is a brave man, and a good general. He and Bibi will – along with General Ashkenazi, the IDF Chief of Staff – keep their powder dry, already be making war plans, and watching events.
Israel is back militarily. They don’t suffer from the Puppy-Dog Syndrome that Olmert did. They have a general who believes in mastery of the fundamentals and civilian leaders who know that they have to maintain a solid stance to their enemies’ moves.
A DATE IN ISRAEL!
The open air shuq or markets in Israel are wonderful places. I’ve long thought that American tourists should spend part of a day there just walking around and seeing all there is to see.
In the Mehane Yehuda shuq that rests between Agrippas and Jaffe Road is the best of all. In the back, down an alley is the Iraqi shuq, where a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant is located. Our adopted granddaughter, Rebecca took us there the first time, and now it is one of my favorites. Soup, goulash, warm bread and other delicacies, dill and garlic pickles, bitter green olives and friendly service keeps the four or five tables full every day.
Up on the main thoroughfare is a stand run by a young man. He sells dried fruit and a wide variety of nuts. The honeyed pecans and cashews are great, but there are also dried figs with their powdered sugar coating and beside them fat, delicious dried dates.
I’m not too fond of visiting the stand in the summer months. It is then that the large honey bees and flies swarm over the tasty fruit trying to get a free meal. My wife can’t take it, so we shop at the far less intriguing grocery stores with their American packaging.
Make a date with dates to protect your arteries
Sep. 8, 2009
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich , THE JERUSALEM POST
Dates are very sweet but they don't raise blood sugar levels and do help protect against the clogging of arteries (atherosclerosis), according to new research at the Rambam Medical Center and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
According to a study by Technion Prof. Michael Aviram that will soon be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, dates offer a bonanza of health benefits. They improve cholesterol profiles and suppress the oxygenization of cholesterol, which causes fatty plaque to stick to the endothelium of the vessels in the heart and those leading to the brain.
Aviram has long studied the benefits of specific fruits and vegetables on health and was the first to cite the pomegranate, red wine (grapes) and olive oil in suppressing the development of heart disease and stroke.
"There was a suspicion that dates are sugar bombs," said the Technion/Rambam researcher. But studies on healthy people found that eating 100 grams of dates a day for a month did not cause an increase in blood sugar but did significantly bring down levels of triglyceride fats in the blood. It also minimized oxygenization of cholesterol.
He studied two date varieties - Halawi and Medjool - and found that Halawi dates were slightly better at protecting against atherosclerosis than the Medjool, though both are beneficial.
DRIVE TO TEL AVIV BY WAY OF ROUTE 443 THROUGH THE WEST BANK AND WHEN YOU REACH THE EDGE OF THE MOUNTAINS YOU COME TO THE AREA WHERE THE MACCABEAN TOMBS ARE LOCATED.
NOW THERE IS A NEW DISCOVERY THERE.
Largest-ever collection of coins from Bar-Kokhba revolt found by cave researchers in Judean hills
Jerusalem, Sept. 9, 2009 – The largest cache of rare coins ever found in a scientific excavation from the period of the Bar-Kokhba revolt of the Jews against the Romans has been discovered in a cave by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan University.
The coins were discovered in three batches in a deep cavern located in a nature reserve in the Judean hills. The treasure includes gold, silver and bronze coins, as well as some pottery and weapons.
The discovery was made in the framework of a comprehensive cave research and mapping project being carried out by Boaz Langford and Prof. Amos Frumkin of the Cave Research Unit in the Department of Geography at the Hebrew University, along with Dr. Boaz Zissu and Prof. Hanan Eshel of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, and with the support of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
The some 120 coins were discovered within a cave that has a “hidden wing,” the slippery and dangerous approach to which is possible only via a narrow opening discovered many years ago by Dr. Gideon Mann, a physician who is one of the early cave explorers in modern Israel. The opening led to a small chamber which in turn opens into a hall that served as a hiding place for the Jewish fighters of Bar-Kokhba.
Most of the discovered coins are in excellent condition and were overstruck as rebels' coins on top of Roman coins. The new imprints show Jewish images and words (for example: the facade of the Temple in Jerusalem and the slogan “for the freedom of Jerusalem”). Other coins that were found, of gold, silver and bronze, are original Roman coins of the period minted elsewhere in the Roman Empire or in the Land of Israel.
Bar-Kokhba coins of this quality and quantity have never before been discovered in one location by researchers in the Land of Israel, although over the years antiquities looters have found and sold large numbers of coins from this period. The high value of such coins has served as an incentive for thefts in recent decades, especially in the Judean hills, where many such caves exist.
Prof. Frumkin points out the significance of this particular cave, owing to its size, its proximity to Betar, and the large collection of coins found there. Ancient Betar was the site of the “last stand” of the rebels led by Bar-Kokhba in their struggle against Roman rule in Judea from 132-35 CE.
“This discovery verifies the assumption that the refugees of the revolt fled to caves in the center of a populated area in addition to the caves found in more isolated areas of the Judean Desert,” said Prof. Frumkin. He also noted that the discovery adds significantly to our knowledge of the Bar-Kokhba revolt, about which there is not a great deal of historical information.
Dr. Zissu points out that one of the fascinating aspects of the Bar-Kokhba revolt is the intensive use of the rebels and Jewish refugees of natural and man-made caves as hiding and refuge places in the face of extensive Roman search-and-destroy missions. Those who fled to the caves took with them food, weapons, drinks, coins and various documents. Sometimes they even took with them the keys to their houses that they abandoned in the hope that one day they would be able to return to them.
Apparently, the people who left behind the cache of coins that has now been found did so during the period of the revolt, following their flight from their homes or from battle with the Romans; however they were unable to return to their hiding place to recover their valuables. (IAA/GPO)
He wasn’t in South America wooing a floozy like Governor Sanford. But he did fall off the radar for about ten hours. His aides kept mum. The media is furious. And the left is saying that he endangered the nation. Baloney. Kosher, but baloney nonetheless.
Now it looks like Bibi was in Moscow for talks with the Russians. What was the topic? So far no one is saying, but there are some who believe that he was making sure that Moscow’s leaders knew he was not at war with them if indeed, there are Israeli jets about to head for Iran.
There are Russian technicians at the Iranian nuke sites. Russia has a common border not far from some of the locations where the nuclear work is being done in Iran.
Could it be a feint, meant to shake up the Iranians? Maybe. But it is very unlikely that Bibi and Putin (the real power in Russia) were discussing the price of dachas on the Black Sea shoreline. Stay tuned for more.
BUILDING IN THE “SETTLEMENTS”
It’s big news because the Obama government, Europe and the UN have been hammering Israel over settlement growth.
But, the details of Barak’s announcement of the new building permits is not too big and astonishing after all. First they were granted under the previous government. Second, all are in cities already established. No earthshaking new cities will be blooming in Samaria. Sadly.
Barak approves 455 new W. Bank units
Sep. 6, 2009
jpost .com staff and herb keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST
Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved on Sunday evening the construction of 455 new housing units in Judea and Samaria settlements, a Defense Ministry statement confirmed on Monday morning.
The Gush Etzion settlement of Har Gilo, which is just south of Jerusalem, will receive a major boost to its population with 149 units winning the ministry's approval. Ma'aleh Adumim received a boost of 89 new units. The haredi city of Modi'in Illit will see an additional 84 units, the Agan Ha'ayalot neighborhood of Givat Ze'ev is to grow by 76 units, and the small settlement Kedar, which is near Ma'aleh Adumim, has received Barak's okay for 25 new units. The defense minister also approved 20 units in Maskiot in the Jordan Valley, and 12 additional units in the veteran Gush Etzion settlement Alon Shvut.
Barak also approved the construction of a sports park in Ariel, the statement continued, and a plan for a new school in Har Adar is currently in the works.
This approval comes prior to the government's expected declaration of a settlement moratorium, part of a package the US administration is trying to put together to relaunch the diplomatic process.
Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel told The Jerusalem Post that as of Sunday night he had not been notified of any new construction permits for his city.
But even if he had, he said, he opposed any plan that involved a freeze on new construction permits.
It would be preferable, he said, to build while negotiating with the Palestinians than to hold such talks while there was a freeze. Kashriel went ahead Monday with a planned protest rally on the undeveloped E-1 site within in his city, on which the government has refused to authorize construction.
Protesters led by Kashriel buried a scroll inside a jar on the hilltop as part of a symbolic cornerstone laying ceremony.
The Prime Minister's Office denied reports that US Mideast envoy George Mitchell had decided to postpone his trip to Israel as a protest over the move. Mitchell was originally expected to arrive this Thursday.
One senior official in the Prime Minister's Office said that the visit was going ahead as planned, and that if there was a postponement of a day or two, it was for "logistical reasons."
The settlement issue did not come up at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, and cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser said the matter would be brought to the full cabinet when the picture became clearer. At the same time, Hauser said the coalition's faction heads had all been apprised of the situation and that the move was coordinated with them.
The plan was reportedly approved by the six-member inner cabinet last month.
Barak's authorization of an additional 500 housing units was the first such approval for new construction in the settlements since November 2008, according to sources in the Prime Minister's Office.
Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said that only a fraction of the settlements were benefiting from the new permits, so that for most of them, a freeze on new construction was already a reality.
At present, 2,500 apartments are under construction in the settlements, most of them in Modi'in Illit, Betar Illit, Ma'aleh Adumim and Givat Ze'ev.
While the authorization of the new homes seems to be a done deal, Israel's agreement to a moratorium still has to be worked out, and would be among the issues to be discussed when Mitchell arrives.
The depth of the moratorium, government officials told the Post, would be dependent on what normalization steps Arab countries were willing to bring to the table.
"There are many outstanding moving parts that are all interconnected," one official said on Sunday. Despite criticism that came out of Washington on Friday, the officials said that Israel had been "very transparent" with the US about this matter.
Barak, meanwhile, said at a gathering of bereaved parents in Herzliya on Sunday that Israel was on the cusp of a "sensitive and important" period.
"The security challenges have not disappeared, and we must be ready for any threat to the vital security interests of the state, but we are also on the eve of diplomatic decisions," he said.
Barak said Israel should support with "an open heart" the American initiative for a comprehensive agreement in the Middle East.
"That agreement includes components of normalization with moderate forces in the Arab world that will give support to a significant diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and, I hope, also in the future [to a process] with the Syrians."
The defense minister said it would be possible to overcome disagreements with the Americans, and to move forward with a "significant diplomatic process that will lead to two states for two peoples."
Barak will reportedly join Netanyahu and Foreign Ministry Avigdor Lieberman at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in two weeks, where Netanyahu is widely expected to meet with both US President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Tovah Lazaroff and Gil Hoffman contributed to this story.
AND WHAT ABOUT ARABS MOVING INTO THE JEWISH AREAS?
The photo above was taken from the rooftop patio of a friend who used to live here before moving back to the US. Across the valley is an Arab village.
The security wall was non-existent when he moved in, with only IDF jeeps there as security at night. Now as you can see the wall is complete.
We have other friends who live here. Just to the left of this photo, but out of sight, is the hilltop where King Saul was raised. On the top are the ruins of a building project that was begun by the late King Hussein of Jordan when he controlled East Jerusalem. He was going to build a palace there. That has obviously not happened, and now Arab teenagers go up there to smoke, take their girls and enjoy the view.
Holy City twist: Arabs moving into Jewish areas
Sep. 7, 2009
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST
Yousef Majlaton moved into the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev for such comforts as proper running water and regular garbage pickup. But he represents a potentially volatile twist in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the holy city.
The hillside sprawl of townhouses and apartment blocks was built for Jews, and Majlaton is a Palestinian.
Pisgat Zeev is part of Israel's effort to fortify its presence in Jerusalem's eastern half which it captured in the 1967 war.
But Majlaton, his wife and three kids are among thousands who have crossed the housing lines to Pisgat Zeev and neighborhoods like it in a migration that is raising tempers among some Jewish residents.
It wasn't so much the politics of this contested city that drew Majlaton to Pisgat Zeev, however; it was the prospect of escaping the potholed roads and scant municipal services he endured for 19 years while renting in an Arab neighborhood.
"You see that air conditioner?" he said, pointing to the large wall unit cooling his living room. "In the Arab areas, the electricity is too weak to run one that big."
Majlaton, 50, says some Jewish neighbors are warming up to him, but the influx bothers others, who say they're thinking of moving out or refuse to sell or rent to Arabs.
This is much more than a simple matter of real estate. Demographics could figure heavily in how Jerusalem is partitioned in a future peace deal. If that happens, it is expected the city will be split along ethnic lines - Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Arab neighborhoods to Palestine.
Palestinians see east Jerusalem as their future capital. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows the whole city will remain united as Israel's capital.
Palestinians have long accused those among them who sell land to Jews of betraying their homeland, and last week similar language was heard from a group of rabbis. Meeting in Pisgat Zeev, they issued an edict denouncing Jews who sell land to Arabs as "traitors" and barring them from participating in communal prayers.
"This is a war, and if the Arabs conquer one neighborhood, they will conquer others and they will strangle the Jews," said Hillel Weiss, a spokesman for the "New Sanhedrin," which takes its name from the supreme court of ancient Israel.
In 2007, the latest year with available statistics, about 1,300 of Pisgat Zeev's 42,000 residents were Arabs. In nearby French Hill, population 7,000, nearly one-sixth are Arabs, among them students at the neighboring Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Neve Yaakov, with 20,000 people, had 600 Arabs, according to the Israel Center for Jerusalem Studies, a respected think
Weeks after the 1967 war, Israel annexed east Jerusalem with its major Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites in a move recognized by no other country. It continues to build housing in sensitive areas in defiance of U.S. protests.
Netanyahu says Arabs have the right to live anywhere in the city, and so should Jews, though the Old City's Jewish Quarter is closed to Arabs.
Jerusalem's mayor and city councilors are all Jewish. Almost all the city's Arabs refuse to vote or run in municipal elections, saying that would be recognition of Israeli rule. But it deprives them of clout in competition for city spending.
Today, while west Jerusalem is overwhelmingly Jewish, the eastern half is an ethnic checkerboard. More than 180,000 Jews live there, most in places like Pisgat Zeev but also in enclaves in Arab areas. Nearly all the city's 220,000 Palestinians live in eastern neighborhoods.
Ironically, much of the Arab migration was set off by the separation barrier which Israel started building through the West Bank in 2002 during a wave of suicide bombings. Its Jerusalem segment meanders to scoop up as many Jewish areas as possible and make several Arab neighborhoods a part of the West Bank.
The wall stranded tens of thousands of Jerusalem Arabs on the "West Bank side," and many moved to Arab neighborhoods on the Jerusalem side for easier access to jobs and schools. But a housing shortage in those districts is pushing the overflow into Jewish areas, residents and real estate agents said.
These areas are "less crowded, you can live in a house, and there are streets, parks and places to play," said Moukhless Abu el-Hof, an Israeli Arab lawyer who owns a home in Pisgat Zeev. "In the Arab neighborhoods, there's nothing."
Jewish resident Shlomi Cohen, 37, said the Arab influx made him sell up and move elsewhere in Pisgat Zeev. "If an Arab comes to live in the building and someone wants to buy and he knows there is an Arab there, he will not buy," he said.
Yael Antebi, editor of the Pisgat Zeev community newspaper and a Jerusalem city council member, said Arab and Jewish teens sometimes brawl, Arab youth often harass Jewish girls, and parents fear their daughters will date Arabs.
Majlaton and his wife are both Hebrew-speaking Christians. He said his new neighbors cold-shouldered them when they arrived in 2002, but gradually became friendlier.
He said he has since helped about 30 Arab families to move in and gets calls from prospective renters almost every day.
While his primary motivation was quality of life, he says living in Pisgat Zeev is "a nationalistic act" - a way to cement Arab presence in the city of his birth.
He said Palestinian leaders should follow his lead.
"They should bring all the Arabs to Pisgat Zeev," he said. "I'll help them find homes one by one."
OTHERS WHOSE POLL NUMBERS ARE DROPPING?
Or is it just Fatah propaganda? We have no sure way of knowing, but the numbers report that support for Hamas is dropping in the West Bank AND in Gaza.
Why would this be happening? A couple of reasons: first is that the lifestyle has not improved for the average Arab under Hamas leadership. They ran in the last election under a banner of clean government, no corruption and helping the community. What they have instead delivered is as much corruption as Fatah, Islamic terrorism against their own people and rigid rules like strict dress and rules of comportment that most Arabs don’t want jammed down their throats.
Killings for rule breakers are not uncommon. And with US and EU dollars going to Fatah supporters and their regions, the people see the writing on the wall. When money comes to Hamas it goes to the rulers, their troops, and into more guns and weapons. And it brings war with the IDF at times.
Poll: Hamas approval rating extremely low
Sep. 7, 2009
Abe Selig , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hamas's approval rating has sunk to significantly low levels in the West Bank and even lower levels inside the Gaza Strip, according to a recent poll for The Israel Project that gathers Arab public opinion on a number of key issues. …
While the numbers indicate ongoing, deep hostility toward Israel in the Arab world, the poll also shows signs that powerful players in the region, such as Hamas, are in deep trouble at home, and that the people living under their direct rule are becomingly increasingly vocal in their criticism.
"Gaza is a big open sore for Hamas, and it's become a symbol that has turned people against armed struggle and in favor of negotiations," Greenberg told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Friday. "Hamas has become marginalized politically."
According to the poll, 58 percent of Gazans said they disapprove of the job being done by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while 42% of them said they "disapprove strongly."
Fifty-seven percent of Palestinians in the West Bank also said they disapprove of Hamas, but only 16% disapproved "strongly."
"I've polled in a number of war zones in the 20th century, including Nicaragua and El Salvador during the conflicts there [in the 1980s], and I polled in Afghanistan under the Taliban, before 9/11," Greenberg said. "And I thought that in Gaza, after [Hamas's 2006] takeover, people would be cautious about responding to the poll. But just look at the results. Nearly 60% of the people there have a negative image of Hamas, and felt free to say it, which says to me that it's even worse than that." …
The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
FED UP SECULAR ISRAELIS
We’ve mentioned before how the secular Israelis, whose numbers make up about 45% of Israel are not fans of the Ultra Orthodox.
There are lots of reason for this, but primarily the contempt that the hassids heap on those not like themselves. Israelis are a proud bunch and don’t like anyone looking down on them.
Now they have another reason, especially in Jerusalem. I’ll let Yair Lapid tell you about it in his own inimitable way.
We’re coming back soon
Secular Israelis becoming increasingly fed up with haredi recklessness
Part 1 of article
At first I was getting emails like this once a week. Then it became a daily occurrence. By now, it’s a barrage.
“Dear Mr. Lapid,” writes Moshe from Raanana, or Hanna from Ofakim, or Rickey from Haifa. “In light of the haredi unruliness in recent weeks, I urge you to consider the reestablishment of the Shinui party. The time has come to put an end to these shameless displays.”
These emails usually include an attachment containing selected quotes from the haredi media which the writers present in order to outrage me. Here are a few brief samples:
“Anti-Semitism did not disappear with the Nazis,” writes Prime Minister Prize winner Chaim Walder. ”It was internalized by many Jews…they simply decided to replace their persecutors and continue their work here.”
Meanwhile, religious newspaper Yated Ne’eman charges: “The ideological perverts also knows as seculars…are beasts. Sophisticated beasts perhaps, as their external appearance is human.”
And after Moshe or Hanna or Rickey are done with expressing their opinion (“Why doesn’t anyone sue them?”) they always note that their neighbors feel the same way and will be happy to offer support and paint the walls at the neglected Shinui branch in their neighborhood, in case I’m considering the matter.
I am not considering the matter, and I think that had my last name not been “Lapid,” the letters would reach a more appropriate address.
But perhaps the haredim should consider this matter.
I was not among the founders of Shinui, but I was watching from up close, and I can attest that the circumstances at that time were quite similar to what is happening right now. As opposed to the myths prevalent in Bnei Brak and in Mea Shearim, Shinui’s establishment was not promoted by hatred for the ultra-Orthodox. It won 15 Knesset seats not because they are haredim, but rather, despite the fact they are haredim.
The average secular does not hate haredim. They remind him to a large extent of his grandfather, and he wishes to live in a Jewish state where the family sits around the Seder table, where there are no cars on the streets on Yom Kippur, and where the State of Israel’s official emblem – the Menorah – is a duplication of the Menorah described in the book of Exodus; the one that was placed in the Temple.
Seculars know, even if they don’t think about it every day, that Judaism was preserved in the Diaspora thanks to the haredim. The fact that they insist on maintaining their reclusive customs in the Jewish State may appear weird, perhaps, but we understand the haredi fear of the secular world’s temptations.
As long as the haredim make do with this, we only have one disagreement with them: The fact that they do not serve in the IDF. In many ways, even when it comes to this issue, we can only blame ourselves. We were wrong to allow the debate about military service to focus on the question of whether they will be “wasting” three years instead of studying the Torah. Those lost years are not the problem of a young person who joins the army, but rather, the chance that he’ll return in a black body bag.
The issue here is that some people in this country may die for the sake of the State of Israel’s existence, while other people are exempt from this risk.
Nonetheless, we forgave. As long as the haredim were a quiet minority that merely seeks to maintain its separatist way of life, they did not bother anyone. However, in the years before Shinui’s establishment this balance was wrecked.
The haredim came out of the Jewish closet and decided to run our lives. Yeshiva and religious services budgets kept on growing, time and again we discovered cases of corruption and bribery, haredi protests became violent, they made pretenses of telling us where we’re allowed to park, when we’re allowed to shop, and what we’re allowed to eat.
Their blatant contempt for us became increasingly blunter, until the seculars got sick and tired of it, and Shinui was established.(YNETNEWS.COM)
In the US there is becoming almost no middle ground. The great uniter, Barry Obama, is now the lightening rod for divisiveness.
The man who would be king has managed since January to prove what many of us believed but could not prove. That he was a communist in moderate clothes.
I have a friend who is died in the wool union man. He is quiet about it, but he voted for Obama. Not for any other reason but that the Unions backed him.
This fellow is my friend, but he is just wrong. He is a born again Christian, against abortion but voted for Obama in spite of Obama’s rabid support for murdering infants in and just out of the womb.
And he has lots of company. Some white folks voted for Obama because they wanted to somehow prove that they were not racists. That would prove their credentials, they felt. Don’t get mad at me for stating the obvious. There have been any number of people who admit this.
And don’t think I’m racist for saying so. I strongly support such people as Clarence Thomas have from the beginning of his nomination to the Supreme Court. Racism cuts both ways, but so does being color-blind.
My friends include Arabs and Jews, Blacks, Chinese, Russians, Europeans of every stripe. Even French people.
The ability to discuss topics that are sensitive should not be restricted to people of only one color. When they touch those topics, many are fearful of offending someone. So much the more do they demand intelligent thought and conversation. That is what has happened regarding issues where Black people are involved. Whites are often fearful of being pictured as racists and many blacks have come to believe that any discussion by anyone other than a black is laced with misunderstanding or judgmentalism. And that might be true. But it need not stop us from talking.
The same is true of Jews and people of other religions and or races.
One of my dear friends is an Ultra Orthodox man. When he and I first met, we discussed the fact that I am Jewish, Baptist, and how I can possibly bridge that great gulf.
At first he thought I was a traitor to my Jewish roots, though he didn’t say as much aloud. As we got to know one another, he was amazed that I was a Christian, but not Catholic. It stunned him to realize that there are divisions among Christians like there are among Jews.
When we got to the Scriptures he was again surprised that I knew so much Bible. (I hold a Th.D.) That I was able to intelligently discuss the subtleties of the Old Covenant/Testament and understand how they impacted both Jews and Christians soon warmed him to me, and we became friends. Our conversation was far ranging, filled with mutual respect and intellectually stimulating for us both.
It should be that way with Arabs and Jews, Black and White, as well as other diverse groups.
Don’t misunderstand me. Unlike our President, I don’t think the power of my personality can bridge every disagreement, convert everyone to my position or even convince all to love me. Far from it. But I think there should be no “off limit” subjects just because we come from different races, opinions, etc.
That is one reason for my admiration of Shimon Peres; his ability to reach out to people who disagree with him.
We can get into a mindset that sees everyone outside our own group as the enemy. What I coined as the “Stockade Syndrome” years ago when I saw Independent Baptists getting that way based on which college they attended or which preacher they idolized. To me that is the height of stupidity.
I guess what I’m saying is that we need to learn to talk intelligently with others. We won’t always find common ground, but how will we know unless we can talk. And I quickly admit that this differs when nations are involved rather than individuals.
Let me give you an illustration: I have mentioned previously that I met a very interesting young Iranian man in Turkey a couple of years ago. He was charming, shared my own love of photography and we hit it off.
Our time together was brief, but we enjoyed the time together. I don’t endorse holding talks with Iran as long as they support terrorism, stand outside the community of nations regarding civilized behaviour, etc. But, that didn’t keep me from liking the Iranian man.
I hope this is making sense.
Well, we are preparing for another trip, so that’s it for this week. Keep us in your prayers, as we do you who are our friends, supporters and encouragers.
Thanks for your loyalty to our efforts as we serve here and there. May the Lord keep you and yours safe.
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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