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Friday, October 10, 2003


I was going to leave the blog all nice, just like it is, for Yom Tovim, and go participate in the Season of our Joy, but then I just saw this and it really pisses me off.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has added Web sites to its list of "foreign terrorist organizations" for the first time, under the category of aliases for conventional groups, a State Department official said on Friday.

A list published in the Federal Register includes newkach.org, kahane.org, kahane.net, kahanetzadak.com as aliases for the Jewish group Kahane Chai or Kach, which is suspected of organizing attacks on Palestinians.

Under U.S. law, it would be illegal to provide money or other material support to the designated Web sites, the people who run them could be denied U.S. visas and U.S. banks must block their funds. The State Department said it was yet clear how this would work in practice.

But the law may not enable the United States to block access to the Web sites, if only for technical reasons.
Does anyone else think it odd that Reuters mentions only JEWISH "TERRORIST" WEBSITES????!!!! You can hardly tell Reuters from Aljazeera these days.

The bias blows my mind. Now back to Joy.

The Four Kinds represent the unity of all Jews

And you shall take for yourselves ...
the splendid fruit of a tree,
fronds of dates,
the branch of the thick-leafed tree
and aravot of the river...

The citrus, or etrog, combines both delicious taste and a fragrance which is enjoyed by all. It represents the Jew who is both learned in Torah, as well as observant of the mitzvahs.

The palm branch, or lulav, is of a tree that bears fruit; dates with good taste, but is odorless. It represents those among Israel who are Torah scholars but do not particularly emphasize good deeds.

The myrtle twigs, or hadasim, are fragrant but tasteless. It represents Jews who are filled with good deeds but are not learned in Torah.

The branches of willow, or aravot, have neither taste nor smell.
It represents those among Jews who are unlearned in Torah and void of good deeds.
Putting these four Kinds together teaches us that no one, not even the citrus or the palm branch can be complete without every single Jew - even without the willows. Without unity the citrus alone is no mitzvah at all.

Shabbat Shalom, Chag Sameach!

Jewish humor as "one kind of defence"

from Rick Richman's blog, Jewish Current Issues:
An ordinary Jew is stranded in no-man's land sometime during World War I.
Suddenly he finds himself staring into the beam of a German sentry's searchlight.

"Halt," shouts the guard. "Halt or I'll shoot."

"Are you crazy," says the Jew, "can't you see that I am a human being?"

For Western consumption

Billboard advertisement in Ramallah . . . in English

A man reads the newspaper at his balcony as a poster of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat hangs on one of the building reading ' All for one and one for all' in the West Bank town of Ramallah Friday Oct. 10, 2003.

Arafat attended Muslim prayers at his West Bank headquarters on Friday, repeatedly kneeling and getting to his feet without help and looking stronger after what doctors said was a bout of stomach problems. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

IDF provides background information

"Operation Root Canal" to uncover and destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels in Gaza

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Israeli troops on Friday were carrying out a massive search operation to uncover and destroy weapon smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday after information indicated that militants intended to up the ante by acquiring anti-aircraft missiles.

Palestinians reported three people were killed, including a 12-year-old boy, in fierce battles that erupted.

As part of the operation called "root canal," tanks and engineering crews, including specially trained sniffer dogs, entered the Rafah area along the internationally recognized Israeli-Egyptian border overnight. The area is known as a hotbed for terrorist activity.

Intense fighting erupted, with Palestinians activating dozens of explosive devices, firing anti-tank missiles, throwing dozens of grenades and opening fire with automatic weapons at troops, the army said.

Israeli troops backed by helicopters returned fire and demolished three structures from which fire had been directed against them.

"The city of Rafah is the main venue for smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip," the army said.

The area of Rafah has been called a "city of tunnels" for smuggling. Since the beginning of the year, more than 30 weapons-smuggling tunnels have been uncovered. Since the beginning of the outbreak of trouble in September 2000, more than 70 tunnels have been found.

But now the terrorist groups are aspiring to add more advanced weapons to their arsenals, security sources said.

The terrorist infrastructure is attempting to "raise the bar" by attempting to acquire anti-aircraft missiles, by carrying them through the tunnels, a security source said.

They also want to beef up their capabilities by adding more rocket propelled grenades, mortar shells, standard explosive materials, assault rifles and ammunition, the source said.

The knowledge, capabilities and technology that is in the Gaza Strip usually finds its way into the West Bank, he added.

According to security sources, weapons from a third country are deposited on the Egyptian side of the border where they are picked up by Palestinians and dragged on sleds through the tunnels.

Among those smuggling weapons are Ahmed Jibril''s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which coordinates its smuggling efforts with "Iranian bodies" attempting to "establish and develop a terror infrastructure in Israel and the territories and especially the Gaza Strip," the sources said.

The sources pointed out that many residents of the area are opposed to the tunnels but that it is a lucrative business for those who partake. Allowing their homes to be used as cover for a tunnel exit, a resident can earn as much as $1,000 a month.

Even if the Israeli army discovers the tunnel exit and destroys the building, the owner is provided with a new residence.

Security sources estimate that dozens of rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, hundreds of kilograms of explosives, hundreds of automatic rifles and tens of thousands of bullets have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip so far this year.


The Jerusalem Post reports:
Gunmen opened fire on an IDF ambulance near Nablus Wednesday night, wounding three soldiers, two seriously and one moderately, hospital and army said.

The attack took place near the village of Huwara and came as the IDF was heavily reinforcing its forces in the territories and tightening the closure on the Palestinians in light of increasing threats of pending terrorist attacks.

Arafat Watch
The newspaper Maariv (Hebrew only) reports that official Israeli sources said on Thursday that Arafat has hepatitis type B.

Charles Johnson, blogger extraordinare at LittleGreenFootballs, notes that this could be from all the blood on his hands.


An Israeli soldier adjusts his helmet during an Israeli army operation in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip early Friday Oct. 10, 2003. Israeli forces, trying to demolish tunnels, allegedly (sic) used for smuggling Palestinian weapons, fought gunmen for hours Friday in the largest army raid in half a year in Rafah, a frequent battlefield. Three Palestinians were killed and 35 were wounded, and an Israeli soldier was also hurt. (AP Photo / Gil Cohen Magen, Pool)

Jeff Jacoby, explaining the war to a six-year-old, his son:
"The truth is, Caleb, if it weren't for war, you would not exist. In the spring of 1945, your father's father was near death in a Nazi concentration camp; he survived and was liberated thanks to the bombs and bullets of the Allies, who managed to destroy Hitler before Hitler managed to destroy every last Jew in Europe. Men with guns saved your family from extinction. Never forget that."

Donate online to SOS Fund: Save Our Soldiers, whose mission is to outfit every Israeli soldier with a top quality bulletproof vest.

Islamists the source of 98% of the world's conflicts


This map is presented by Samuel Flatto-Sharon, former member of Israeli Knesset, and has been sent to all UN ambassadors, to every leader of the world's nations and to worldwide newspapers. Take part in the fight against terrorism by passing on this map to anyone you know.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Cafe Press offers "Anti-Zionism" t-shirts

Check this out.

And this.

Cafe Press offers much in this vein of free speech. Just search for the keyword, Israel, and see how much you can bear. Even the innocuous titles, such as "Peace in the Holy Land," can bend your mind. I only got to page 5.

AS AN ALTERNATIVE, you may want to "Shop Caterpillar".

Israel Inspires (arguments) at Rutgers

Arnold Citrin, right, of West Orange, N.J., a supporter of Israel, argues with pro-Palestinian demonstrators at an 'Israel Inspires' rally on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., Thursday, Oct. 9, 2003. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

Rebecca Brenowitz, right of East Brunswick, N.J., joins in the singing of the Israeli national anthem during a pro-Israel rally at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., Thursday, Oct. 9, 2003. About 30 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered across the street from the event. (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer)


As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope - the two-thousand-year-old hope - will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Muslim Students at Penn sponsor Nazi

This week the University of Pennsylvania's Muslim Student Association (MSA) is celebrating its "Islam Awareness Week." For the keynote address on Thursday, October 9, the MSA invited "Reverend" William W. Baker, a former chairman of a racist and anti-Semitic organization, the Populist Party.

Baker, the founder and director of Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP) will be one of two invited speakers and the first non-Muslim ever invited to speak at this annual week-long event.

Baker's selection as speaker is bad enough, but the use of university funds to pay for it is a scandal; the Office of the Chaplain and the Office of the Vice Provost for University Life helped MSA come up with nearly $5,000 for the week-long program.
Read the rest by Jonthan Calt Harris, at FrontPageMagazine.

In conjunction with the remarkable reopening of Cafe Hillel, this:

"There is hope for the Middle East . . . because Israel is a good land, made up of good people"
I utterly wept when I read this. Am posting in its entirety, from IsraelInsider, "King Solomon: The wisdom of Israel's own" by Resa LaRu Kirkland, blessings on her head:

"There is hope for the Middle East. I truly believe that.

Why? Because Israel is a good land, made up of good people...and while the behavior of Islam raises only my ire and disgust, Israel's behavior gives me hope.

I have a friend named Shlomi, an officer in the IDF in Israel, about whom I deeply care. I lovingly refer to Shlomi as "King Solomon," because his name in Hebrew means "Solomon," and because he is wise, and kind. Shlomi has taught me to have hope as he has explained the Israeli perspective, he has taught me humility with his own admissions of fear, hate, and sorrow, and his words touch me too deeply to keep to myself:
It started during my officer's course - the 1st uprising of Palestinians in Israel, March 1989; the name "Intifada" was still unknown. We were called to bring back order to a violent neighborhood called Anab'ta. It was my 1st encounter with hate, from both sides.

The Arab population seemed like it was full of hate. Shouting at us, calling as names, throwing stones, everything. Friends of mine, still very young, trained as soldiers, educated as officers, but doing something that reminded us of a police job - controlling local population. We were confused. The orders that were given to us were still a blur.

Then a friend of mine got hit with a stone on his face. He was bleeding real bad and was sent to a hospital, where we found out that he lost his left eye. All the blood and the pain of a hurt friend lit up the fire of hate among us too...They were violent and so were we...I was amazed that such feelings were also inside of me...

During the 1st Intifada I was subjected to horrible stuff - kids with mother's milk on their lips throwing stones with so much hate in their eyes...my driver hit by an 8 pound stone, policemen spraying pepper gas upon a prisoner's face, an old man forced to clean up hatful graffiti on the wall, and more.

But I also found some stuff that lit my hope. An Arab psychologist that really welcomed us while we did a search in his house and told me stuff about psychology that later on made me choose it as my bachelor degree...A soldier giving a kid that was caught throwing stones a candy since he was more hungry than hateful. An old Arab and his wife that welcomed us and gave us tea and cigars during a patrol in his neighborhood; later on I found out that he was a Marine in the states and he knew what we were going through. I realized that in every culture there are pleasant people, but we hear and see and encounter only the extremists...

As an officer I was sent to do a one-year tour with the 9th battalion that was located near Jericho. It was a Merkava 2B battalion (tanks unit) with about 400 officers and soldiers. Located near one of the biggest Muslim Arab cities, our encounters with the local people were on a daily basis. They walked on the road near the camp, we passed their houses and stores on the way to the base, sharing bus stops, and more. There was always some tension in the air. After all - the man or woman sitting next to you is an Arab - is he/she full of hate? Are you sitting near your enemy? You could never tell...

One day, a jeep with 4 soldiers aboard it went outside the camp, heading towards the brigade. About 200 yards from the camp the jeep took a tight corner too fast and it crashed just beside the road. The driver and one of the soldiers were OK but in shock. 2 soldiers were wounded but nothing too harsh. A local car with an old Arab man in it saw what happened and came to help out. He started bandaging one of the hurt soldiers in order to stop the blood running. The driver, still in shock, saw the Arab man, the wounded soldier, the blood, and panicked. He took out his rifle and pointed it to the Arab man's head shouting for him to let go of his friend. The man did that and lifted his hands above his head. The other two soldiers witnessed the whole thing and were afraid that the driver might do something wrong. They grabbed the driver and dragged him to the floor. The Arab guy did not escape, he continued wrapping the soldier's wounded arm and used his cellular phone to call for help...

On the way to battalion camp, we always paused to rest a bit at Ibrahim's restaurant. The owner of the restaurant was a big Arab, always smiling, always kind, named Ibrahim. He was about 50 years old. Sometimes his kids served those who came to the restaurant. The Humus he made was so good that people from all over the country came to taste it. His place was always filled with tourists that paused from sight-seeing Jericho's ruins and soldiers on their way to the base (the soldiers enjoyed the good food and also drooled over the hot blond female tourists who came to the restaurant)!

One day a group of local extremists thought that his restaurant was a pretty good place to collide with the soldiers attending the place. They grabbed stones and waited for the soldiers to come out of the diner. About 10 soldiers came out of the restaurant and headed towards the bus waiting to take them to the bases.

A shower of stones hit them on the spot. They were too far from the bus to run for cover. While they had M-16s and Galil rifles, they didn't want to use them, not yet. They knew that their weapons were more deadly than any stone and if they used their arms, Arab people might die and the world would tumble...

They escaped back to the diner taking cover from the stones. The extremists gathered a mob outside the diner. There were at least 300 people outside waiting for the soldiers to come out.

Ibrahim decided to help out. He went out to meet the mob and tried to calm them down. He talked with them for a while, at the same time the soldiers skipped out from the kitchen entrance (as Ibrahim had directed them to do) and ran to the bus. While Ibrahim was still talking to the mob, the bus started to move out and the mob started running after it to throw stones. The soldiers were saved and no one was killed.

That night an unknown hand burned the diner, and Ibrahim was slaughtered in his bed at home. The black remains of the diner stood silent for many years on one side of the road, Jericho's main ruins on the other. Both are monuments for brave people...
Given the events of this past weekend, Shlomi is an even more remarkable man. Let's face it...99% of the time, Islam is the aggressor, and Israel's innocent civilians suffer its wrath. Israel wishes only to live and let live...Islam will not rest until they are dust. Israel has taken a tiny strip of desert and made it blossom as a rose...Islamic nations are backward and their populace poor in spite of being the richest oil-producing regions on earth...Israel attacks only those who attack them...Islam attacks families sitting down to dinner. Shlomi speaks of Arabs who died to save him...the Palestinian Prime Minister says he "will not listen to America, I will listen to our national rights." Pretty kind talk from one of the most ancient, significant, and persecuted of lands in human history... pretty big talk for a nation that doesn't even exist.

It is plain to the intellect and the spirit who has been called of God, and from whom He has withheld His blessings.

And yet....

Shlomi sees good in his enemy, hope for his foe, kind faces among his adversary. He recognizes his own flaws before condemning the enemy's, and his Kingly wisdom is countered with Godly compassion. "King Solomon" is why I have hope for the Middle East...because in the face of inexplicable hatred and indescribable savagery, he who is the object of the rage chooses compassion and hope. While the wretched UN and all but America utter the hypocrisy of condemning the beat-ee for daring to defend himself against the beat-er, I grow in my love for a just people, and fight with a vigor to keep America on the side of these brethren who choose the right.

Israel will win, because they are right, because they are just, because they are good...and because they have King Solomon on their side. Israel, Israel, God is calling...you have listened, and I pray America will as well, and choose your side. I know I have.

Cafe Hillel Reopens

L'Chayim! Israelis defy terrorism
from JPost:
Exactly one month after Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel was destroyed by a Palestinian suicide bomber, the popular eaterie in the city's trendy German Colony reopened its doors to the public on Thursday, with patrons pledging their unequivocal support.

Seven people were killed, and scores of others were wounded in the September 9 late-night attack at the cafe, which was teeming with patrons at the time. On Thursday afternoon, the only sign that remained of last month's carnage was several repair men carrying out the final touches on the outside of the cafe, which had been completely redone, and the strict security at its entrance.

"I used to come here every day, and I have been waiting for this reopening," said American-born Yisrael Campbell, as he waited in the take-out line at the cafe Thursday afternoon.

"The food is great, the service is nice and we're hungry," offered two twenty-year-olds, Keren Mizrachi and Sivan Sayag, as they pondered what to order for lunch.

In fact, many of the patrons in the half-full eaterie on its reopening day said that they had come to this particular Cafe Hillel on purpose, as an act of defiance and repudiation of the terrorism.

"There is no way that I would not come here on the day of its reopening," said Rich Brownstein, who moved to Jerusalem this summer from Oregon, and was at the cafe the morning of the attack. "We are here for them," he said motioning to the owners and workers.

"We choose this cafe on purpose in order to strengthen it, and to show that the Nation of Israel is alive," said 19-year-old Avital Shvut, who was having a green garden salad, with her grandmother, Ra'ayah Sabu. Shvut noted that this was the first time she ever ate at a Cafe Hillel.

At the table across from them, 29 year old Yona Kruger was having a coffee with his father, Alan, who was visiting from Canada.

The younger Kruger, a newly discharged soldier and neighborhood resident who served as a doctor, had rushed to the cafe the night of the attack to try to save lives.

"It's very good to see the cafe open again, and nice to see that people are coming back," Kruger said, adding that his parents had especially wanted to visit the newly reopened cafe as part of their trip to Israel.

In a city where nearly everybody knows someone who was either killed or wounded in a Palestinian suicide bombing, the emotional scars were still evident on the faces of some of the cafe's owners, who did not want to talk to the press, even one month after the attack.

Marking the cafe's reopening, a New Jersey-born businessman and neighborhood resident, Martin Lee, said this week that he will pick up the tab for all drinks at the cafe on this Saturday night.

"I think it is crucial that in the face what is going on in the country, people continue to come out, and think positive," Lee said.

A spokesman for Cafe Hillel confirmed that an individual had, on his own initiative, offered to pay for all the drinks ordered this Saturday night to mark the cafe's reopening.
These people obviously haven't been reading American editorials! Am Yisrael Chai!

HAMAS: "Israel has poisoned Arafat"

You had to know this was coming. Maybe it's a good sign, in a way.

Full story at Jerusalem NewsWire.

Join 100,000 Jews in reciting daily the Tefillah L'chayalei Tzahal

- the Prayer for Members of the Israeli Defense Forces - and help raise funds to benefit our soldiers in Israel.
Order large cards (8 1/2 inches x 11 inches) for $5 each and small cards (credit card sized) for $1 each and be a part of this mitzvah! All proceeds benefit needy soldiers and will be distributed by the Office of the Chief Military Chaplain of the IDF

As the current crisis continues, so does the danger facing the young men and women who risk their lives on the front lines of battle. The Orthodox Union urges the community to commence with the daily recitation of this tefillah on their behalf. Imagine the Kiddush Hashem and the impact that these thousands of voices can have on behalf of our soldiers. Please order cards for your synagogue, school, home, or youth group - for yourself!


Online, by Fax: 212-613-0639 or by phone : 212-613-8226.

News from Israel
A suicide bomber struck at an IDF roadblock today, near Tulkarm, wounding two Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian.

Four IDF reserve battalions have been called up to patrol the West Bank and Gaza after the end of Sukkot.

The death toll from the Maxim Restaurant bombing attack has risen to 20; no names yet.

And the good news: Over 3,000 Christians from 80 countries are due to arrive in Israel during the Sukkot holiday.

The story of Rachel Fish and the Harvard Divinity School

"We should never ignore, rationalize or underestimate hate speech"
Rachel Fish supplies us all with a much needed success story and pep talk:
"Frustrated by Arab anti-Semitism? Upset by people's insensitivity toward Jewish concerns? Think you're powerless to influence your school or community? Think again.

A group of Harvard students spoke out against hate speech in the Middle East and, thanks to the support of the community, achieved results. I helped organize the group and our efforts resulted in shutting down an Arab League think tank that distributes hate speech against Americans and Jews."
Read the full account of how Rachel, with help from MEMRI, the ADL, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the David Project, was able to accomplish such a feat.

Kol hakavod and our gratitude to Rachel, and to all those who speak and act against the rising tide of bigotry.

Professors rain on parade, protest Israeli speakers at RUTGERS

According to these academics, a pro-Israel position is "extreme right wing"
We were all happy and grateful that the students at Rutgers had decided to answer growing antisemitism there with a series of positive events centering around Israel. Well, bye bye happiness.

SIXTY professors have signed a statement expressing their "grave concern" and "growing unease" with the role that Rutgers Hillel is playing "in the promototion of the extreme right wing on campus." Oh, horrors.

Read the full story in The Daily Targum.

NOTE: This banner, hung in Rutgers' Douglas Campus Student Center and then moved to the main campus Rutgers Student Center, merited no such criticism from faculty. I guess extreme left wing calls for the dissolution of the state of Israel and who-knows-what fate of the Jews living here, is acceptable, while love of Israel is a threat.

Photo courtesy of jihad in jersey

Tovia Singer says that American Jews are not in dire straits unless - until - the economy tanks. Let's hope that he's right, and that the economy doesn't tank.

Art mimics terrorism

Greek artist glorifies female suicide bomber - from Shark Blog

Artist with his creation: pink lace suicide belt. Photo caption in original show shows the artist stating, "I am trying to get into the psychology of a person who is preparing the vests women wear in suicide attacks."

You have to see this to believe it. The article from the Greek publication, Ta Nea, explains:
"A real story was the motivation for "Body Milk" a title that brings to mind both female cosmetics and human milk, according to Alexandros Psychoulis: that of an 18 year old Palestinian girl, Ayat Al Akra, who carried out a suicide bomb attack last March in a supermarket in Israel. "When I heard the news on television, I didn't pay much attention. By coincidence I came across her portrait on the internet. She was a very beautiful girl, educated, in love, that one could meet anywhere. Continuing the research on the net relating to suicide attacks I discovered a detail. An army of women who in the past had carried out similar actions had chosen the supermarket as their place of action, whereas men primarily preferred cafes and buses. Why were women therefore choosing the market to express their greatest protest?

I observed my female friends. They feel at home and complete in the supermarket. They move like they know its code of operation, like those women who placed the products on the shelves, while I search for hours for what I want and leave with broken nerves. I came to the conclusion that the supermarket is a woman's space. Perhaps because by her nature woman is a provider and the supermarket operates like a super female provider, magnifying woman's nature. If she therefore blows herself up there, perhaps she will feel like she is magnifying her existence and her act."
The real clincher is this quote from the artist: "I personally feel that the experiment of Israel has failed and I understand the desperation of a girl who carries out a suicide bombing having nothing to lose. But politics does not essentially concern me in the specific work."

Politics does not concern him, but the experiment of Israel has failed. From CounterPunch to the New York Review of Books, Israel is a mistake. Now this Greek shmuck. The refrain is gaining momentum worldwide. Oy vey.

Read this in full - and more - at Stefan Sharkansky's great blog.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Pray for Hadar

Tova Bahat, center, mourns the loss of her husband, Zvi (Tziki) at his funeral at Kibbutz Afek yesterday.

Tova Bahat buried her husband on Tuesday, and their three-year-old son Hadar is fighting for his life in hospital, in critical condition. from IsraelInsider:
"Tziki, my love, one last request I have of you," Tova Bahat said as she eulogized her husband. "Our Hadar is fighting for his life. Give him the strength to overcome this. Watch over him from above and bring him back home, my wonderful baby."

In tearful interviews with the Israeli media, Tova, 35, said that she and Tziki had made plans to move to a new house, to expand their growing family. "How could our plans have changed so suddenly?" she cried.

Tova is determined to save her son, and to make life easier for her daughter, Inbar, 5, who was lightly injured in the bombing. "My son is in very, very serious condition. Unfortunately, a piece of shrapnel lodged in his head and caused very serious brain injuries. The doctors are doing all they can to save him, but there is still a long way to go. I ask everybody, please pray, send us good energy and light so that he can recover."
I'm not sure if it's the same person, but there are photographs of Israel by a "Tsvi Bahat" at artlink.com, part of something called International Young Art 2003.
Pray for Galit, Adi and Oren
Social workers at Haifa's Rambam Hospital said they dreaded the moment when Galit Shtier would regain consciousness. They knew they had to tell her that her parents, her brother, her son and her nephew had all been killed in the suicide bombing. "It was one of the most difficult moments ever," they said, quoted in Maariv.

Galit is listed in serious condition, as are niece and nephew Adi and Oren Almog. On Tuesday, Adi Almog was disconnected from a respirator, a sign that her condition had improved. Her mother, Orly, is hospitalized in Rambam's orthopedics ward.
Pray for Avner, Roi and Diana
Avner Sofrin and his children Roi and Diana were released from the hospital on Tuesday. Their wife and mother, Irena Sofrin, 38, of Kiryat Bialik, was one of the nineteen victims of the suicide bombing.


Guysen Israel News, via LittleGreenFootballs
The French would know first.

UPDATE Thursday: A watched pot never boils, though a joint team of Jordanian and Egyptian physicians arrived in Ramallah Wednesday evening.

The case against Jordan by Avi Dershowitz

Damning (Israel) with faint praise
From the Jerusalem Post
Jordan is the West's favorite Arab nation. And for good reason, since it is the best of a generally bad lot. Most westerners admired King Hussein, adore his best-selling widow Queen Noor, and respect his son, King Abdullah. US President George W. Bush recently, and appropriately, praised King Abdullah for his devotion to peace in the region. No one has to write "The Case for Jordan," as I have had to write The Case for Israel.

But any fair comparison between the Middle East's most reviled and condemned nation, Israel, and its most praised nation, Jordan, starkly reveals the invidious double standard applied to Israel.

A few largely unknown facts about Jordan:
Jordan has a law on its books explicitly prohibiting any Jew from becoming a citizen, or any Jordanian from selling land to a Jew. It has refused to amend this law despite repeated demands.

Jordan has perfected the art of torture and uses it routinely against dissidents, suspected terrorists and perceived opponents of the monarchy. I'm talking about real torture here, not the kind of rough interrogation occasionally employed by the US and Israel. Jordan even threatens to torture and tortures the entirely innocent relatives of suspected terrorists, as it did with Abu Nidal's mother.

The United States is fully aware of Jordan's proficiency in torture, having "subcontracted" some of its own difficult cases to Jordanian "experts" (along with Egyptian and Philippine torture experts). Yet the UN has never condemned Jordan for its use of torture.

Jordan killed more Palestinians in one month September 1970, known as Black September than Israel has killed during the three years of suicide bombings that began in the fall of 2000. The brutality of the Jordanian Army toward Palestinian dissidents and terrorists was far more egregious than anything Israel has ever done.

The Jordanian Army has deliberately bombed civilian areas of Israeli cities in clear violation of international law. In 1967, before Israel fired a single shot at Jordan, the Jordanian Army fired 1,600 missiles into west Jerusalem, targeting apartment buildings, shops and other non-military targets. Israel did not respond by bombing Amman, which it easily could have done. It responded by attacking Jordanian military targets and then offering a cease-fire, which Jordan rejected.
JORDAN IS not a democracy. It is a hereditary monarchy which stifles dissent, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Its democratic facades a legislature, cabinet, judiciary are all subject to control by the Hashemite minority rulers who were placed in charge of the majority Palestinian population by a colonial decision.

Why do Americans not know the case against Jordan? Because it is in no one's interest to make it. Jordan is an ally of the United States (at least some of the time). It is a peace partner with Israel (at least now). It is the best of the Arab states in the Middle East, but "best" is a comparative term with a relatively low basis for comparison.

Why then am I making the case against Jordan? Simply to demonstrate the double standard so widely employed in judging Israel. Nothing justifies this double standard. Yes, Israel receives American aid, but so does Jordan (as well as Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Arab states). Indeed Jordan receives, on a per capita basis, more actual aid than Israel, if aid is defined as receiving assistance in return for nothing. Israel earns its aid by giving back an enormous amount especially in the area of military intelligence and technology. The aid given to Jordan is entirely a one-way street that goes primarily into propping up its minority monarchy and preventing its Palestinian majority from taking over. Israel, as a democracy, needs no aid to prevent internal upheaval.

So this case against Jordan is really part of the case for Israel. It invites fair-minded people to ask why Jordan which by any standard of fair judgment is less democratic, more oppressive, and far more racist gets a pass while Israel is subject to so much vilification.

Having made the case against Jordan, let me add that I, too, admired King Hussein, whom I had the pleasure of meeting. I, too, respect his son King Abdullah, who recently met with Bush and restated his commitment to a peaceful two-state solution. But I must insist and the world must insist on a single standard of judgment and criticism with regard to all nations. By any such standard, Israel deserves less criticism and more praise than Jordan.

Don't confuse FAQs with FACTS

Al-Awda (dot org) is an organization dedicated to the Palestinian "right of return." While declining to buy their t-shirt, pictured above, I moved on to their FAQs, that is, Frequently Asked Questions - not to be confused with FACTS.

To the FAQ, "how did the Palestinian refugee problem arise?" the following answer is provided.
The Palestinian refugee problem arose not from a conflict in which, as claimed, the Zionist forces overcame overwhelming odds against the Arab armies and the Palestinian population voluntarily left, but from a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing. The results of which are apparent in the Palestinian refugee camps across the Arab world and in the Palestinian Diaspora. The policies, to a lesser extent, continue to this day in Jerusalem and across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

I am always intrigued by the problem of these refugees. They are so unique in the history of the world: they are the ONLY group of refugees EVER (and there have been g'zillions) not to be absorbed into real life somewhere, and the ONLY group of refugees to merit their own UN Agency. Refugees now for fifty-five years, they have produced three further generations who have inherited refugee status. It's bizarre.

Quite aside from the Arab war on Israel for a moment, there are these 4 million Arabs without passports, who present en masse an enormous challenge to the world. And they don't live just in the West Bank (so-called) and Gaza strip; 62% of registered refugees, about two and a half million, live in the Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, some in 32 refugee camps, others not.

According to the UNRWA, as of 6/30/03, these are the FACTS and figures:
12 refugee camps
1950: 128,000 refugees
2003: 392,000 refugees, of whom 225,000 live in camps

Lebanon contributed a whopping $7,480 to the UNRWA in 2002

10 refugee camps
1950: 82,000 refugees
2003: 410,000, of whom 120,000 are in camps

Syria contributed only $32,817 to the UNRWA in 2002.

10 refugee camps
1950: 506,000 refugees
2003: 1,719,000 refugees, of whom 304,000 are in camps

Jordan contributed $263,258 to the UNRWA in 2002.
Compare this to
19 refugee camps
2003 - 655,000 refugees

8 refugee camps
2003 - 907,000 refugees

Of the total UNRWA budget of $404.5 million (2002), the United States contributed far and above all other countries: $120 million, about 30%.

The European Union contributed $79 million, about 20%.

(An entity called "Palestine" contributed a little over $2.5 million, about half of one percent of the total, and the State of Israel did not contribute at all. I'm surprised.)

With all that caring and all those hundreds of millions of dollars, seems like something more healthy and productive could be done for these people. Rather than sit in squalid camps for another four generations, couldn't they get a life somewhere? Truly, wouldn't that help?

Maybe if we tried resolving the Refugee Question first, instead of always postponing it to the end, then peace might follow.

The first step could be diverting U.S. funds from the corrupt-and-going-nowhere UNRWA; the second step, diverting EU funds, and so on.

Why keep paying for this? IT'S NOT WORKING. IT'S NOT HELPING. It's ridiculous and tragic.

The international mainstream media missed it

New Targets for Suicide Bombers by Dr. Walid Phares
When al-Jazeera reported the suicide attack against the Haifa restaurant, one item went unnoticed by the international media. The reporter said "the restaurant is co-owned by an Arab. A number of Arabs were killed in the explosion." At first sight, there is no striking news in it. It is not the first time Arabs are killed by istishadis (Islamist suicide bombers). Nor would it be impossible that Israeli Arabs would be casualties in jihad operations against the Jews. One-third of Haifa's population is Arab. Moreover, many "scholars" of jihad have long warned that Muslims and Arabs could become collateral damage of martyrdom strikes. That has happened and will happen and al-Jazeera's panels will always find an answer to it. But the south Haifa restaurant was not owned by an "Arab," nor were most of the killed workers "Arabs." And here lies the issue.

The owner of "Maxime," the South Haifa restaurant is a Lebanese Christian. George Matar is not an Arab Muslim; he is a Maronite Catholic from Lebanon whose roots are Aramaic. Many of the workers who got killed or injured are Lebanese Christians, as well. Al-Jazeera and many Arab media outlets missed that point, possibly intentionally, since indicating the real ethnic and religious identities of this owner and some of the workers would open a new file on the jihadists both in Israel and in the Middle East. Why would the Islamist suicide bombers particularly target a Lebanese Christian restaurant in Israel, when they could have attacked an Arab-Muslim culinary establishment anywhere else in the city? Mainstream Jews in Haifa eat at all kinds of restaurants, especially on the Sabbath. So what's behind Hanadi's mission? Was she there to kill Jews or Christians -- or both?

How did "Abu Charbel" (George Matar's acronym) ended up being bombed in Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Was he part of that war between the Islamists and the Israelis? All law-abiding civilians basically want peace and security, regardless of whether they are Jews, Christians or Muslims. Only fanatical ideologies transform them into "missiles" - such as the bomber Hanadi Jaradat or "shreds" such as the companions of bombed George Matar. But while we know more about the perpetrators of jihad and their views of the world, most around us knows much less about those Christians of Lebanon, crushed in an exploding Middle East.
It gets even more fascinating - read the rest at FrontPageMagazine.

published in the Jewish World Review

The violent evolution of modern terrorism

The FORWARD has a great review, by Alexander H. Joffe, of three new books on terrorism:
"Recent NBC/Wall Street Journal and Gallup polls indicate that American concern about terrorism has dropped to pre-9/11 levels. What will it take for the American public to again take terrorism seriously? Three books offer dramatically different approaches to the same problem, founded respectively on reason, faith and emotion."

No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century
By Walter Laqueur
Continuum, 288 pages

Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power In a Violent World
By Jean Bethke Elshtain
Basic Books, 240 pages

Terror and Liberalism
By Paul Berman
W.W. Norton & Company, 214 pages

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


published in the Jerusalem Post
This is so outrageously good that I'm posting in its entirety. My deepest gratitude to the writer. Kol hakavod!
One of the most enduring vignettes of the Great War is the story of its first Christmas December 1914 when Germans and British put up banners to wish the other the season's greetings, sang "Silent Night" in both languages, and eventually scrambled up from their opposing trenches to play a Christmas Day football match in No Man's Land and share German beer and English plum jam. After Christmas, they went back to killing each other.

The many films, books, and plays inspired by that No Man's Land truce are all convinced of the story's central truth that our common humanity transcends the temporary hell of war. When the politicians and generals have done with us, those who are left will live in peace, playing footsie, singing songs, as they did for a moment in the midst of carnage.

Now cross to Haifa on Saturday, when 19 diners were killed in a busy restaurant by a 23-year-old female suicide-bomber, her hair attractively tied in a western-style ponytail, to judge from the detached head she left as her calling card. Try to find the common humanity between the participants in this war. Try to imagine the two sides kicking a ball around, swapping songs. The only place in the modern Middle East where Arabs and Jews coexist is in Israel, especially in Haifa. The restaurant young Hanadi Jaradat blew apart had been owned by an Arab family and a Jewish family for 40 years. It would be interesting to know whether it was targeted for that very reason, in the same way that, in Northern Ireland, the IRA took to killing the caterers and cleaners who worked at army bases. But the intifada is too primal for anything that thought out. It's more likely that once Miss Jaradat had slipped into Israel proper through a gap in the unfinished security fence the European Union and Colin Powell so deplore any target would do. She was busting to blow.

The Palestinian death cult negates all the assumptions of western sentimental pacifism: If only the vengeful old generals got out of the way, there'd be no war. But such common humanity as one can find on the West Bank resides, if only in their cynicism, in the leadership: old Arafat may shower glory and honor on his youthful martyrs but he's human enough to keep his own kid in Paris, well away from the suicide-bomber belts. It's hard to picture Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi or any of the other aging terror apologists who hog the airwaves at CNN and the BBC celebrating the death of their own loved ones the way Miss Jaradat's brother did. "We are receiving congratulations from people," said Thaher Jaradat. "Why should we cry? It is like her wedding day, the happiest day for her."

I spent a short time on the West Bank earlier this spring. I would have spent longer, but to be honest it creeped me out, and I was happy to scram across the Allenby Bridge and on through Jordan to Iraq. Say what you like about the Sunni Triangle and RPG Alley, but I never once felt I was in a wholly diseased environment. On the West Bank, almost all the humdrum transactions of daily life take place in a culture that glorifies depravity: you walk down a street named after a suicide bomber to drop your child in a school that celebrates suicide-bombing and then pick up some groceries in a corner store whose walls are plastered with portraits of suicide bombers.

Nothing good grows in toxic soil. You cannot have a real peace with such people; you cannot even have the cold peace that exists between Israel and Jordan, where King Abdullah, host of the Arab-American-Israeli summit at the start of the road map, did not dare display the flag of the Zionist Entity, lest it provoke his subjects.

The problem is not the security fence, but the psychological fence a chasm really that separates a sizable proportion of the Palestinian population from all Jews.

AT THE time of that summit, I supported the road map because it seemed to me the best thing to be done was to thrust a state upon the Palestinians as quickly as possible. The present neither-one-thing-nor-the-other Palestinian Authority gives Arafat and company all the advantages of controlling their own territory with none of the responsibilities. Its anomalous status enshrines the Palestinians' victim status and means Israel gets a far worse press internationally than if it were dealing with a sovereign state.

But the main reason for conjuring up a Palestinian state would be to call their bluff. For six decades, nothing the Palestinians have done has made sense if the objective is to secure a state of their own. But, if the objective is to kill Jews, it all makes perfect sense. That's why, in West Bank towns, you see no evidence of nationalist fervor, only of Jew-killing fervor.

The Arab League's decision three decades ago to anoint a murder organization as the sole legitimate repository of Palestinian aspirations was perhaps the critical move in the terrorist annexation of whatever legitimacy this cause once had.

Today Arafat is received by the UN as a head of state, subsidized by the EU and, under Oslo, physically installed in a pseudo-presidential compound. Yet he shows absolutely no desire to run anything other than a murder operation. Ten years ago, the Palestinian Authority was given powers that fell somewhere between those of the Province of Quebec and the Irish Free State. In 1922 in Dublin, the shrewder chaps recognized that the dynamic in the situation would only move one way: once you proved you could run an all-but-fully-independent state, the all-buts would quickly fade away, as one by one they all did. Not in the Palestinian Authority. Arafat is a head of state in no hurry to get a state to head: having to attend to trade and highways and so forth only cuts into his core business. That may be all the more reason to burden him with it.

But the bloody toll of Saturday's bombing reminds us that there's another consideration. Before the Iraq war, I didn't give a hoot about WMD or any of the other lines peddled by Blair and Bush when they were auditioning justifications at the UN. The only reason for getting rid of Saddam was that America couldn't afford not to get rid of him: it was necessary to prick the Middle Eastern terrorist bubble, of which he was the most successful manifestation. There's a similar calculation to be made here: if America is serious about confronting Middle Eastern terrorism, it's hard to see what possible interest it has in rewarding the Arafat squat with nationhood.

Indeed, just as toppling Saddam pour encourager les autres is all the reason you need, so the fact that the sewer regimes of Araby use the Palestinian question as a catch-all excuse for their own failures ought to be the only reason you need for not buying into it. The Palestinian Authority is part of America's war on terror in exactly the way Saddam was: whether or not there are any specific links to al-Qaida is irrelevant; it's part of the same murky waters.

Unfortunately, few members of the Bush administration and no members of the British government recognize that.

So there will be more suicide bombings, and more condemnations of Israel's fence.

In addition to Judt (see below)

In addition to Tony Judt's liberal intellectual rationale for dismantling the Jewish state -on the grounds of antifascism and modernism- we have others spreading cheer and good will:
* Richard Cohen in the NY Daily News, says that Israel's enemies are winning, Israeli despair is palpable and "the idyllic Zionist dream is in tatters." Answer is, of course, to abandon the settlements, always the settlements. Unlike Judt, who calls Israel a dysfunctional anachronism, Cohen asserts that "Israel has become virtually a dysfunctional society." Whatever.

* David Horovitz in the NY Times wonders, in print, "how much longer our [Israeli] national resolve can hold, especially when there is so little realistic prospect of improvement." Horovitz sees the same matsav, the same situation, that I do; yet he recommends that Israeli leaders make it clear that if a [reasonable] Palestinian leadership emerges, Israel will rush to join it at the peace table. Like they haven't been doing that for fifty years or so. AND they must "reinforce the rhetoric with proof" -- you guessed the proof: stop the evil settlements and the evil fence. Ironically, Horovitz ends by saying "we must try to end the hopelessness." I thought he meant Israeli hopelessness, but no: To end the hopelessness is "to persuade the mothers of Gaza that their children of something to live for." Only then, as a byproduct, will we "give ourselves the chance of something better to live for, too."

* Columnist David Ignatius in the Washington Post takes this opportunity to interview Hasan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, whom he describes as "smart, tough, inflexible on key issues -- and totally in control of his movement," a dangerous adversary for Israel but also a "credible partner at the negotiating table." Ignatius does admit that the interview was "a formulaic exchange in which the question and answer seemed to come from different moral universes," but his conclusion is that "amid the charred ruins of yet another suicide bombing, it is difficult even for a blinkered optimist to see any easy path away from the bloodshed."
What a bunch of unhelpful whiners. They would never have lasted forty years wandering in the desert. Come to think of it, no one did; HaShem waited for the doubters to die out and another generation to emerge. I hope that's not what's happening here and now.

In the meantime, where there's life, there's hope. And to tell you the truth, I find the most hope in the so-called "settlers," and their "hilltop youth." G-d knows, they're not whiners.

Time for an irreverent joke
A CNN reporter went to Israel to cover the fighting. She was looking for something emotional and positive and of human interest . . . something like the man in Sarajevo who risked his life to play the cello every day in the town square.

In Jerusalem, she heard about an old Jew who's been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out.

She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was! She watches him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turns to leave, she approaches him for an interview.
"Rebecca Smith, CNN News. Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wailing Wall and praying?"

"For about 50 years."

"What do you pray for?"

"For peace between the Jews and the Arabs. For all the hatred to stop. For our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"How do you feel after doing this for 50 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a wall."

Thanks to Rochelle for the grins.

The Slaughter of the Families

"It took one second and the family is gone"

This is a composite photo (AP) of members of the Zer-Aviv family, killed in Saturday's suicide bombing attack on a Haifa restaurant, made available Sunday Oct. 5, 2003 by the family in the northern Israeli kibbutz of Yagur. From left to right, Bruriya Zer-Aviv, 54, her son B'tzalel, 30, his wife Keren, 29, and their two children, Noya, 1, and Liran, 4.

Benjamin Shiloh, the Zer-Aviv's neighbor for 18 years in Kibbutz Yagur, began to fear for them after he recognized their belongings while watching the news: "I saw the baby carriage that every day sat outside their home. Then I saw a bottle of milk on TV that said 'Noya.' "

"I have lost everything," said Shimon Elmakayes, as he bade final farewell to his daughter Keren.

"It's a disaster we're still trying to comprehend," said Avi Bar-Or, who is related to the other family, the Almogs. "It took one second, and the family is gone."

"Why these killings and when will it end?," said one veteran kibbutznik with tears streaming down his face.

The Islamic Jihad attack in Haifa has been dubbed the "Slaughter of the Families."

Unfathomable: Five deaths in three generations of one family

Col. (res.) Zeev Almog, legendary former commander of the Israeli Navy's officer training school in Akko, was having lunch with his family at the Maxim restaurant when the suicide bomber struck. Almog, 71, was killed along with his wife Ruth, 70, son Moshe, 43, Moshe's seven-year-old son Tomer and another grandson through daughter Gallit, 10-year-old Assaf Staier.

Almog's daughter, Gallit - Moshe's wife- as well as two other grandchildren and Zeev's daughter-in-law, Orli, were all seriously wounded.

Of the 60 people wounded in the attack, 18 are still hospitalized, including three-year-old Hadar Bahat, who remains in critical condition.

Municipal reporter for cable news magazine murdered in the Haifa attack

Mark Biano, 29, known for covering terrorist attacks, could not be reached Saturday by staff members of the local Haifa cable TV news magazine, News of the Day. They desperately wanted him get to the scene of the attack at the Maxim restaurant, in which 19 people were murdered.

"They called him on his cellphone, his phone, tried paging him, nothing worked. We never imagined that his body was lying there, five meters from us," Eliran Tal, another reporter at the station, told Channel 1. "We continued covering the attack until we heard of his death. We put the cameras and microphones aside, and this attack became a personal tragedy."

Biano and his wife, Naomi, 25, were at the restaurant having lunch when the suicide bomber struck. They were one of three families largely wiped out in the attack.

On Sunday, Tal showed reporters from Channel 1 Biano's desk. As a municipal reporter, he had piles of cassettes with different reports on the environment and politics. "It looks like it would on any regular work day," said Tal, as he held up the text of Biano's last broadcast on Thursday.

He and his wife were married two years ago and spent a long honeymoon in the US and the Caribbean islands. They were buried Sunday. He is survived by his parents and a sister.

Arafat reported seriously ill

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat talks to reporters at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah October 5, 2003. Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters

Jerusalem Post:
Four ambulances that were seen entering Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah on Monday afternoon triggered off rumors that he was seriously ill.

Within minutes, senior officials in the compound were bombarded with phone calls from curious journalists. Arafat's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, dismissed reports that Arafat had been taken to a local hospital. He said Arafat suffered from exhaustion and was recovering.

But another senior official said Arafat's health has rapidly deteriorated over the past two weeks. "I don't think it's the flu as some people say," he said. "The president hasn't been feeling well for some time and his health seems to be worsening."

He said it was possible that Arafat, 74, has caught a number of viruses as a result of shaking hands and exchanging kisses on the cheek with thousands of people who came to see him over the past few weeks following Israel's decision to "remove" him.

On Sunday, a pale and fragile-looking Arafat met in his office with the new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Palestinians said they have never before seen Arafat in such a condition.

"You can see that he's very ill," said someone who attended the meeting. "He can hardly speak. Something bad is happening to him."

Some PA officials said Arafat's decision to declare a state of emergency in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could be linked to his illness. "It's possible that he doesn't want to leave a vacuum behind," said one PA official. "He must have discussed the issue with Abu Ala [Qurei]."

Last week, the PA summoned a team of doctors from Jordan to examine Arafat after he complained of severe abdominal pain. They concluded that he had recovered from a mild illness and only needed some rest.

At first, his aides suspected that he had been poisoned. Arafat had been vomiting for several days. Shortly after the Jordanian team returned home, a journalist in Ramallah quoted a senior PA official as saying that "Arafat's days are numbered."

On Monday evening, journalists and visitors were barred from entering Arafat's compound. The decision only added to the growing speculation about Arafat's health.
I read somewhere that DEBKA-Net-Weekly published a piece about Arafat having three heart attacks lately, that reports of his "flu" were a cover-up - but now I can't find the reference. If anyone has access to that story, please email me.

"Israel: The Alternative" by Tony Judt

published in the New York Review of Books
Todah, thank you, to my friend Alan, who pointed this out, saying "This depressing article is likely to be quite influential. I think its weakest points are the dismissal of Jabotinsky and his followers as 'fascist' and its assumption that the Arab/Muslim world is any way predisposed to 'multiculturalism.' "

Ugh, this couldn't be worse, and in such an influential mainstream publication.

Tony Judt holds that Israel is running -and or ruining- American foreign policy, yet is itself an anachronism ("and not just an anachronism, but a dysfunctional one"). Jabotinsky was a fascist, and so is Ehud Olmert, Israel's deputy prime minister. On the other hand, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are "hardly a significant international threat." It is Israel's "increasingly wild pronouncements" that are "a major impediment to peace," while the 133-4 UN vote in support of Arafat was "reasonable and prudent."

And don't accuse Judt of anti-semitism; he's got that covered: ". . . all criticism of Israel is drawn ineluctably back to the memory of that project [the Holocaust], something that Israel's American apologists are shamefully quick to exploit." Thus, to say "Never Again" is to exploit the Holocaust.
"Today, non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do. But this time it is a Jewish state, not a Christian one, which is holding them hostage for its own actions. Diaspora Jews cannot influence Israeli policies, but they are implicitly identified with them, not least by Israel's own insistent claims upon their allegiance. The behavior of a self-described Jewish state affects the way everyone else looks at Jews. The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel. The depressing truth is that Israel's current behavior is not just bad for America, though it surely is. It is not even just bad for Israel itself, as many Israelis silently acknowledge. The depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews."
We Jews just can't win for losing. Sixty years ago we were slaughtered because we had no nation, and now we are slaughtered because we do. In Judt's modern multicultural world, there is simply no room for Jewish identity.

Read it all.

Tony Judt is director of the Remarque Institute, the Enrich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies, and professor of History -- at New York University.

Cross-posted at ISRAPUNDIT.

Husband/father murdered, mother asks for prayers for critically wounded 3-year-old

Tvi Bahat, 35, will be buried this afternoon, a victim of the Haifa bombing. His three-year-old son, Hadar, was critically wounded in the attack.
Tzvi's widow Tova made an impassioned plea on Army Radio this morning for her son:

"He is simply fighting for his life. Therefore, the first thing that I ask from everyone who hears me, is to send a prayer, everyone in his own way, that he should have the strength to overcome. He is a strong boy, and beautiful - so much like his father, and I just have to have him remain alive. I so much request from everyone to do whatever he can to request and give him the strengths. This is really the most important thing now."

Another daughter Inbar, 6, was in the restaurant at the time, but suffered no physical injuries.

Tova described the moment of the bombing:

"Tzviki had gone to pay, and I was sitting with my back to the cashier. I heard that terrible boom, and I knew right away what it was. The first thing we saw was that Hadar was hurt, and was bleeding. I scooped him up and took the children out; I passed Tzviki lying on the floor, but I knew that the first thing I had to do was to get Hadar to an ambulance... I rushed out very quickly, over all the broken glass and all the hell and blood that I saw there, and I waited for an ambulance, and then I gave Inbar to a policewoman, and I went back in to see Tzviki... I tried to wake him up, and felt his pulse - but I realized that he was probably dead... A tiny consolation was that he was whole, and as handsome as he always was; I told his father that he would have no trouble identifying his son in Abu Kabir [Forensic Institute]... He was an amazing person, the love of my life! He always understood me, always loved me. Such a dedicated family man, so admired in his field as an honest and professional man, with knowledge of everything... He always knew how to balance between work and his family; he came home every single afternoon to raise the children together with me, and not just a 'Shabbat father.' And that's why it is so, so hard for Inbar. He was such an integral part of her life, and she simply wants him here, not there... It is so hard for me; I just don't understand how I will be able to go on without him, for without him I am really nothing..."

IDF Soldier Killed by Hezbollah at Israel's northern border

Arutz Sheva:
The northern border is quiet this morning, following the killing late yesterday afternoon of First Sgt. David Solomonov, 21, of Kfar Saba. A sniper assumed to be from Hizbullah shot him from over the Lebanese border as he was guarding in Metulah. The shots came from a building within a Lebanese village to the south-west of Metullah. Hizbullah denies involvement.

Solomonov, a sniper himself, immigrated to Israel with his family from the United States eight years ago, and was scheduled to complete his army service a week from now.

He is the 15th Israeli to have been killed by Hizbullah since the IDF withdrew from Lebanon 40 months ago.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Kudos to President Bush

Today the President said that Israel must not feel constrained in its self-defense.

More in the Washington Post.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Why I Fast

by Nathan Gutman

To me, the Yom Kippur fast always had a special meaning — and the Yom Kippur of 1944 was particularly special. I fasted on that Yom Kippur, too. I was then prisoner No. 86619 in the slave labor camp of St. Valentin, far in the mountains of Austria.

On Yom Kippur eve I put the heavy, brick-like "bread" under my shirt and kept it there till the next evening. It was an act of defiance against the German persecutors. It was my way to proclaim that I was not yet reduced to a number. I was still a person; a person desperately trying to cling to the very last bit of control over my life. It was the ultimate test of willpower to carry that bit of bread on my body, a night and a full day, without so much as touching it. This, in spite of the perpetual hunger, which the camp’s starvation diet never satisfied.

My maternal grandmother inspired that power of will when she and I spent a few months together. We were hiding from the Nazis in the small village of Wieliczka in Poland, about 20 kilometers (slightly more than 12 miles) south of Krakow. There were nine of us including my mother’s sisters and my grandmother, all crammed into one small room. Any resemblance to normal life was long gone. Life in my hometown of Katowice became just a faint memory. Day by day, the Germans were coming up with new, oppressive restrictions. We have been already deported several times. All of our meager belongings were with us in that one small room.

During the day, all the adults were going out to do different chores. I was in my early teens and stayed with my grandmother; a small, frail woman in her late 70s always dressed in her black, ankle-long skirt and a sparkling, white blouse. Always in her ever-present sheitel, grandmother was devotedly religious. She constantly prayed and chanted verses in a language I did not understand. She lit Shabbat candles making each Friday a special day. She firmly believed that, in the end, God will save us from all evil. She never gave up hope.

Her advanced age did not stop her from cleaning, cooking and mending for all of us. Always busy doing something, she never sat down to rest. I specifically remember, how in those days of scarcity when there was no flour to bake bread, she made potato bread. It was sticky, it was heavy, but hunger made its taste heavenly.

From her, I learned how to convert things that didn’t even look edible into wonderfully satisfying meals. Her ingenuity seemed limitless. I learned from her to mend socks and patch holes in my pants. While she cooked and cleaned I fetched buckets of water from the well outside or dug up potatoes in the nearby field. She also taught me to recite the "Shema." In the horror years yet to come it became my life-saving mantra. She taught me basic survival skills, which I am sure, in the end, saved my life.

My 13th birthday was coming up and, just like every Jewish boy, I looked forward to my bar mitzvah. Grandmother took upon herself to teach me our religion and told me about our ancient traditions. I recited after her and memorized the prayers. She prepared me for the passing from boyhood into adulthood which, among other things, meant fasting on Yom Kippur.

However, it was a bar mitzvah that never was. Soon after, we were expelled to the ghetto in Krakow, then herded into the infamous camp in Plaszow. One by one, the family perished. I ended up alone in the St. Valentin camp. The Nazis worked us in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, making tank parts. All day long I monotonously pushed a lever on a huge machine and kept reciting the "Shema."

Then came Yom Kippur of 1944. It was bitter cold. The family was gone. The already meager food rations deteriorated further into "soup" and "bread" twice a day. The long starvation and deprivation had taken their toll. I kept my mind from going numb and kept reciting the "Shema" that my grandmother taught me.

To fast on that Yom Kippur day was an act of defiance. It was to prove to myself that in spite of all the German atrocities, I still controlled at least one aspect of my life. They took away my family, they took away my freedom, but they could not take away the Yom Kippur fast. It was a desperate effort to cling to the last shred of esteem and preserve the last bit of personal dignity in an upside-down world that went berserk.

Of the nine people who lived in that small room in Wieliczka, I am the only survivor. The rest perished into the mass graves of Plaszow or in the chambers of Auschwitz. Today, well into my twilight years, I fast on Yom Kippur to remember those who perished, with a special place in my heart for my grandmother who taught me how to survive and how to recite the "Shema."

Nathan Gutman, who has written fiction and nonfiction short stories about the Holocaust, lives with his wife in Simsbury, Conn., and has three children and 10 grandchildren.

This piece was first published in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

Israeli warplanes strike deep in Syria

"Israel will act with determination against all who harm its citizens,
in accordance with the right to self defense and defense of the state"

From the Jerusalem Post:
Arieh O'Sullivan Oct. 5, 2003

Israeli warplanes bombed an Iranian-backed terrorist training camp deep in Syria, the army said Sunday, in response to a suicide bombing in Haifa that killed 19, including four children.

The strike, Israel's first on Syrian soil in more than two decades, marks a considerable "notch up" in Israel's war on terrorism, which has now expanded beyond the borders of the Territories. It was approved by the highest levels following consultations through the night by the defense establishment.

The military said the air strike took place between Saturday and Sunday and was against the Ein Tzahab base used by Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists.

"Syria has been warned more than once by the United States that it should close all the facilities of the Islamic Jihad," said government spokesman Avi Pazner. "Apparently it has not done so. And it is our policy after what happened yesterday to go after Islamic Jihad wherever they are."

The Syrian government had no immediate response. Speaking on the al-Jazeera television network, Abu Emad El-Refaei, an Islamic Jihad spokesman in Beirut, Lebanon, denied that there were any Islamic Jihad bases in Syria.

"We do not have any training camps or bases in Syria or any other country," he said. "All our bases are inside the Palestinian occupied territories."

The Ein Tzahab base, a safe haven and training camp for Islamic Jihad terrorists, is said to be sponsored by Iran and Syria. The base is 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Damascus, Israel Radio reported.

"Following the attack, the army has started operating against those behind the attack, those who support (terror) and those who use the strategy of terror in order to harm citizens of Israel," the army said in a statement.

The army would not say if other forces beside the warplanes were involved in the strike on the training base.

Military sources said the base at Ein Tzahab was used to train Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Islamic Jihad and Hamas groups. Recruits there are taught how to assemble bombs, conduct guerrilla warfare, learn usage of artillery and even get aviation instruction.

Some men training at the base were slated to return to the Palestinian Authority to set up operational terrorist cells, military sources said. Others were activists from Lebanon and Syria who were to buffer the terror groups' ranks there.

Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for many attacks against Israel, enjoys support from other countries, including Iran and Syria, the statement said.

"Syria is a state that supports terror, that constantly tries to frustrate efforts to bring calm and stability to the region and gives cover in its territory and capital to the terror organizations that act against Israeli citizens," the army said. "Iran is funding and directing the organizations."

The army said Israel will not accept the rules of the game that the terrorists are trying to dictate, and "will act with determination against all who harm its citizens, in accordance with the right to self defense and defense of the state."
Israel has accused Syria of harboring Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PFLP terrorist groups, a charge Syria has denied, saying it has officially closed down their offices - mainly due to US pressure.

Nevertheless, Islamic Jihad leaders like Ramadan Abdallah Shalah continue to enjoy immunity in Damascus. Security sources said Hamas leaders in Damascus are behind the funding and recruitment of Palestinians undergoing training in Hizbullah camps, where they have learned such skills as assembling suicide bomb belts, kidnapping techniques and spying.

In 2001, Israeli warplanes blasted a Syrian radar station in Lebanon, where Syria is the main power broker, killing three Syrian soldiers. That strike was the first in five years against the Syrian military and came in retaliation for an attack by Syrian-backed guerrillas in which an Israeli soldier was killed.

According to reports from Lebanon, the training camp attacked by the IAF was populated by civilians unconnected to any terror group. Reports also said one man was injured in the strike.

With The Associated Press

UPDATE: See Roger L. Simon commentary and follow his link to LGF for more.

from JudaicaHeaven.com

"He who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, may He bless the soldiers of Israel who stand guard on our country and the cities of our G-d. From Lebanon until the deserts of Egypt, from the Mediterranean Sea until the Plains of Jordan - on dry land, in the air and sea. May G-d afflict the enemies that rise against them before them. The Holy One, Blessed is He, should protect and save our soldiers from any misfortune or calamity, and from any sickenss or disease. May he send blessing and success in all their handiwork, destroy their enemies below them, and crown them with the crown of redemption and the crown of victory. And the verse 'For G-d walks among you, to wage war for you with your enemies, to save you' should be fulfilled.
. . . and let us say, Amen."

The Murdered

Our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of
Bruria Zer-Aviv, 59,

her son Bezalel Zer-Aviv, 30,

his wife Keren Zer-Aviv, 29,

and both their children, Liran, 4, and Noya, 1 year old - all from Kibbutz Yagur.

Ze'ev Almog, 61,

his wife Ruth Almog, 60,

their son Moshe Almog, 43,

their grandsons Tomer Almog, 9, and Asaf Staier, 10,

all from Haifa.

Mark Biano, 29,

his wife, Naomi Biano, 25 - from Haifa.

Nir Regev, 25, Nahariya.

Osama Najar, 27, Haifa.

Matanas Karkabi, 29, Haifa.

Hana Naim Francis, 40,

Fassouta, Sherbel Matar, 23,

Fassouta, Zvi Bahat, 35, Haifa,

Irena Sofrin, 38, Kiriat Bialik.
May all who grieve be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Israeli SWAT team gets Kibbutz Metzer terrorist

An Israeli police SWAT team operating in the West Bank city of Tulkarm killed Sirhan Sirhan, the Fatah terrorist responsible for the murder of five people in Kibbutz Metzer in November 2002.

Sirhan, wanted by Israel since the attack, had reportedly been hiding out in the town and, according to Israeli military sources, planning attacks for the Islamic Jihad terror group.

The special police unit, called Yamam, opened fire on Sirhan as he was driving with two bodyguards, who returned fire and managed to escape.

Palestinian sources said that nine-year-old Mohammed Yusuf Amin was killed in the operation. Israeli military sources denied the claim.

Among the victims of the Metzer infiltration and killing were two young children, Noam and Matan Ohayon, murdered in their beds, along with their mother Revital.

The secretary of the kibbutz, Yitzhak Dori, was killed in an exchange of fire with the terrorist, and Tirza Damari was shot as she was strolling with a friend who escaped harm.

Revital's husband, Avi Ohayon, not home at the time of the attack, was interviewed today about his reaction to the elimination of the terrorist.

He praised the unit that killed the Sirhan, saying that they were like "members of his family. While he said that "the air was a bit cleaner" because the terrorist was no longer breathing, he felt no relief or hope that the situation would improve.

But within hours of learning that the killer of his wife and children had been eliminated, he was informed that a close friend had been in the bombing of the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, her husband killed and her son injured.