Thursday, August 31, 2006

Something A Bit Lighter

I've gotten past my melancholy, at least for the day.

A friend of mine is in Israel, and asked me to take him somewhere interesting in Jerusalem. I dont know what touristy fun things there are to do in Jerusalem, unless you like shopping, and I don't. Its at times like this that a beach in Jerusalem would be very helpful. There is of course the Begin and Israel Museum, Yad Vashem, and whatever other little museums are laying around, but none of that is much fun. After discussing it with a few people I decided on the zoo. The main problem was that I already went to the zoo this summer, but I didn't have any other ideas, so off we went. At first it was a regular zoo trip, lions were sleeping, bears were eating, chimpanzees were eating each others poop, etc. etc. The penguins in the Biblical zoo are warm weather penguins, much different thenthe huge display of ice penguins in he Detroit zoo. but I digress. We caught the mandarins (the monkey in the Lion King...simbasanasobanana...on that note, they had a big display of meerkat, but no warthogs...) getting fed and learned a bit about them from the zooboy. The reason why the male mandarin tush is so big and pink is that when they move at night as a pack the women can follow them. And their face gets more color as they get stronger to scare away other animals, who understand the whole color means stronger thing (same reason poison dart frogs are bright yellow, but I digress again).
The next thing on the schedule was the elephant show. Until we got there the elephant show had ended (or it just never happened), but elephants are always fun to watch, so we hung around there. At first they were just sticking their trunks into the wall and not doing much (there are four of then by the way, Susan R. and Teddy, who were donated by the government of Thailand, and Micheala and Abigail who were donated by rich people from New York who love Jerusalem and I guess also love elephants). Then one of them started spraying himself with mud and water, which was fun to watch, but then we got bored and were ready to leave. Then we saw one of them (Teddy) starting poking his tusks into one of the other ones. Watching animals fight is always fun at the zoo, so we went back to the fence to keep watching. Teddy kept poking the other elephant and putting hs trunk on here, but it doesnt seem to be going anywhere so I was ready to leave when my friend pointed out that Teddy was thoroughly enjoying himself. And then I realized they weren't fighting. This went on for awhile, but right as it seemed to start getting somewhere Teddy walked off and took a cold shower (totally serious, he walked into a flowing stream and starting sucking water up his trunk and spraying it all over himself. We saw it wasnt going anywher so we left. We finished the zoo, and on our way back towards the elephants heard a kid yell, "Mommy, there are two elephants in the water!" So we walked back over right as the female darted out of the water and the male ran and knocked her back in. Then, suffice it to say that we, along with all the little kids watching, learned a little bit more about nature then we thought we were going to do. We also got great pictures. My only question at the end is, are elephants modest animals and thats why they use the pool, or is it just a gravity/agile thing?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Life and Death Mixed Together

I've sat down a few times to sit and write something, but I keep stopping. I want to write light things, but there's to much on my mind. I visited this guy in the hospital a week ago, his APC was hit by a rocket and his legs are in terrible shape. He was part of the team that brought out the bodies of the soldiers that were killed in Bent Jbail, including Amichai, a friend of his. That same day I had to make a horrible decision; go to a memorial ceremony for a friend's brother who was killed, or go to an engagement party for my wife's friend. I couldnt do both since they were on seperate sides of the country. I ended up missing a ride to the memorial so I went to the engagement. It was probably for the good since I was so depressed after the hosital visit. I stopped at my friends grave in Eli on Friday. They haven't put a stone on yet, so it is just dirt with a little sign that says his name, rank, and date of death. Then a friend and I went to visit his parents and talk to them. His father wasnt home, but his mom was, and she seemed to appreciate our visit. My friend brought a framed picture of our unit with Amichai in the middle. Tonight I am going to a wedding. In a few weeks I have a memorial ceremony on Sunday and a wedding on Monday.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ושבו בנים לגבולם

(Hattip: JoeSettler)
It says, "Return Gilad, Uri and Eldad home, and send Olmert, Peretz and Chalutz home!"

I saw an ad today outside the bus station in Jerusalem. It was a huge picture of Ehud Goldwasser with the words "ושבו בנים לגבולם", "and the children returned to their borders", written underneath.

August 22

I've been seeing a bunch of doomsday articles about August 22nd, and a friend even called to warn me that Aechmeidianajaied was supposed to bomb us today. But, it is now the 23rd. Unless he was lookng at a New York clock, and there's still a few more hours. to the 22nd. But I'm feeling safe enough to go to sleep.

We went to a BBQ at my inlaws tonight. My brother in law made a party for his unit since they got a few days off to relax. No one throws a BBQ like my inlaws. We all ate and then sat around smoking nargila and they told some crazy stories, which are now funny since they are home safe.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back To Normal

I was listening to my favorite country radio station today, and just being happy the war is over. It may start up again in a few weeks, it may start up in Gaza, it may have been really dumb of us to pull out without accomplishing any of our goals, but it's good not to be at war. I went up north with the family last Thursday, there was traffic on the roads, a minyan every four seconds in Meron, life is getting back to normal.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The First Scapegoat

Insider trading is wrong. And when the head of the army places his bets against his own country, some might even refer to that as treason. Also, I haven't forgotten how Sharon quickly got rid of "Bogey" Yaalon right before disengagement and put his own puppet, Dan Chalutz, in his place.
So I have no qualms with everyone screaming for his resignation. BUT, let's not lose focus here. We have just witnessed a horrible war. Lots of unnecessary deaths. Lots of unkept promises. Dan Chalutz did something wrong, and we are all angry, but his selling shares is not the main point here.

What about Olmert, a man who was "tired of winning". A man who sent other people's children to war, but not his own. Or Peretz, one of the founders of 'peace now', a man who was given the defense minister chair as a way of buying his party into the coalition, and refused to place someone who knows defense in the chair since he was scared of the political repercussions. Or maybe Chalutz himself, who admitted he has no understanding of ground troops and tanks, only planes. And who also declined an offer from America a few years ago for bombs that destroy underground bunkers.
Or maybe Nassralla just fought well. Regardless, this need to find someone quick to hang from a tree is counter productive, as it allows the true culprit to get away.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nothing More To Say

I would update more, but I ran out of what to say. This war is taking too long. We arent even talking about destroying Hezzbala, we have no real objective other than grabbing as much land as possible, which is entirely pointless when the enemy is shooting long range missiles. So we can continue fighting, continue killing and getting killed, but we will end up exactly where we were, with Ehud and Eldad still kidnapped, and rockets raining down on us. We can't either give up, as that would set a horrible precedent and guarantee another war. So we are stuck fighting an unwinnable war, with no end in sight that will be good for us.

My brother-in-law got the weekend off, my in-laws are calm for the first time in a month. We are going there for Shabbat so we can finally see him.

I may have just read this on someones blog, or just randomly remembered it, but theres an old joke about a Jew in Germany in the 1930's who was reading the German paper. His friend yelled at him, "How can you read that anti-semitic propaganda?!?" He answered him, "In the Jewish papers all I read about is poverty and hunger, and how bad the Jews are doing. But in the German paper they talk about how the Jews are rich and taking over the world. I'd much rather read that!" In that same vein, I've stopped reading Israeli news about rockets falling and soldiers getting killed. Instead I read Aljazeera about cities we've bombed and how we're taking everything over.
May we have a Shabbat of peace and quiet.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Defense Minister?

from Arutz 7

Addressing a Tel Aviv session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee, Defense Minister Amir Peretz stated that in the face of failed diplomatic efforts to stop Katyusha rocket attacks, he will order a more comprehensive IDF operation.

Peretz stated such an operation would strike Hizbullah throughout Lebanon, targeting rocket launchers wherever they may be.

Why arent we doing that now? 12 soldiers killed in a rocket isn't reason enough? 3 killed and over 100 injured and trapped in fallen buildings due to rockets isn't reason enough? Sadly, he seems to prefer the Arab approach of maximizing our casualties to make us look more pathetic so the world will pity us.

Too bad he didn't explain why he ordered an incomprehensive IDF operation frst, designed to risk our soldiers. I wonder what is going to be comprehensive about the new operation. Is it going to clearly state that our first priority is the safety of our civilians and soldiers, and only after the safety of others? Probably not.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Shavua Tov

May this week be better than last week, and bring us lasting peace...or at least an effective cease fire...ok, may we just have a bit of quiet. I've once again seen how happy I am we dont have a TV. Friday afternoon we were at someones house where the TV was on, and we were unable to tear our eyes away as they showed funerals, the effects of rockets, detroyed families, etc. It's too depressing to bear. Non-stop they had the names of soldiers and civilians who had been killed scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

Shabbat was very peaceful, at least for us. We went to a Shabbat Chattan (aufruf [Shabbat celebration before someone gets married]) of a friend of ours. It's really nice to take a step back from all the fighting and see something happy for a change of pace.

I spoke with a friend of mine last week who's an officer in Golani 51. His platoon brought back some of the bodies of the soldiers that had been killed in Lebanon. He sounded tired but seemed upbeat, and said his soldiers still have a high morale, and are ready and waiting to avenge the deaths of their friends. May God guard them and allow them to avenge the deaths of all our fallen soldiers. I spoke with another friend who is doing reserves on the border, he is doing guard duty and a few other minor things, but seemed fine. I havent spoken to my brother-in-law, but last we heard he was fine. I'm so glad I don't have to rely on the media for everything, and can get real updates from soldiers there, without the spin that whoever is reporting wants to put on it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Important Post At The Muqata

click here. Read it, and then act on it. (Title of article is "Woe Unto Israel")

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

על אלה אני בוכה

Tisha B'Av started tonight, a sad day when we sit and mourn all the tragedies that have befallen us. From the destruction of our Temples through the Inquisition, the Holocaust and all the way to last years losing part of our Holy Land. This year the mourning is more poignant as our country is in a turmoil, millions of residents are either living in bomb shelters or fled their homes, and many of our soldiers are over the border engaged in heavy fighting with our enemy. Tomorrow is also the funeral of Micheal Levine, an American oleh who cut a vacation short with his family to come back here and fight for his country. He was killed in Lebanon. While we are mourning the destruction of our country from 2000 years ago, our Prime Minister is talking about destroying more of the country as soon as he has the opportunity.

May this be the last time we have to fast and cry over Destruction.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Olmert's Propaganda Game

Ehud Olmert's speech at the Knesset, July 17: Lebanon, we will insist on compliance with the terms stipulated long ago by the international community...The return of the hostages, Ehud (Udi) Goldwasser and Eldad Regev;
- A complete cease fire...
- Expulsion of Hizballah from the area, and fulfillment of United Nations Resolution 1559.
We will search every compound, target every terrorist who assists in attacking the citizens of Israel, and destroy every terrorist infrastructure, everywhere. We will persist until Hizballah and Hamas comply with those basic and decent things required of them by every civilized person. Israel will not agree to live in the shadow of missiles or rockets against its residents.

Ehud Olmert's speech at the National Defence College, Aug 1:

...The military campaign has already created a new equation between the ability of Israel and that of Israel's enemies...No one promised that at the end of this war there would be no missiles left that could reach us.

My Theory:

Ehud meant what he said at first. Then he found out how powerful international pressure can be. So he is trying to save face, saying things like "we've already won", and then when he announces a ceasefire and pulls back our troops, while we are still being fired on, he will keep referring to his "we've won" speech, and he hopes if he says it enough we will believe him.

Galilean Refugee

My brother is still seeking refuge in Jerusalem, but has to go up from time to time to work in Haifa and see his house in Maalot. He is happy to report it is still there. He is selling t-shirts and coffee mugs through Zazzle, he gets a part of the proceeds which will go to help Northerners. Check it out here. In order for him to get the money, I think you have to go through the link on his website.

FoxNews has been reporting for some time now that many Israeli troops have been killed or injured. Our news just reported that some soldiers have been injured. Unfortunately, usually the foreign news are right, and our news is censored until the families have been notified. We have already heard from my brother-in-law that he is alright, thank God. It is a horrible feeling, when you at the same time are happy to hear your family is alright, but at the same time know that another family is receiving the worst news.

Here is a picture of a friend that someone sent me a link to:

In other news, my parents came to visit for the month. Kol HaKoved to them for coming when we need tourists the most. And Kol HaKoved to them for taking us out to dinner, and supporting our restaurants :-)

The market in Israel is doing well. I have heard some negative feedback about this, that Tel Aviv only cares for itself, and doesnt care we're at war as long as Ramat Aviv isn't hit. But its a good thing the market is fine, it's one less thing we have to worry about. A major deal was just made, SanDisk bought M-Systems for 1.5 billion dollars. They're both Israeli companies that make flash drives and USB devices and other high tech things. This will add more money to the Treasury, which is in major need of it now.