Jan 22, 2018

Nikki Haley VOA Interview on UNRWA and the Palestinians (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- Jan. 18, 2018 (video)







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Yonatan Razel Live: Ashira (video)







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Jan 21, 2018

Ministry of Transportation to minimize bus drivers handling of money


Galei Tzahal News today reported that the Ministry of Transportation will be making significant changes into how the buses work with passengers paying fares while the driver is driving - that will no longer be the case.

Beginning in March they will be lessening over time the ability to pay with cash for your ride on the bus itself.

It will happen in stages with the first stage being the not allowing one to pay for and load a rav kav while on the bus - meaning you will only be able to pay, on the bus, for a single ride and will have to have your rav kav loaded in advance if you wish to use it.

The second stage will be that the drivers will not take money even for individual rides and you will only be able to use your rav kav that has been loaded with money or passes prior to getting on the bus.

I can see some difficulties with this, but all big changes to systems start off with difficulties.

Personally, I load my rav kav and my kids rav kavs using the rav kav app on my phone. However, many people do not have smartphones, and even among those that do, many phones do not have NFC capabilities.

I also have a little card reader that I sometimes use to load up the cards, but again, not everyone does and many people do not have Internet.

They are going to have to find a way to make it easy for people to load their rav kavs even if they do not have Internet. The Haredi community uses public transportation at much higher percentages than the average Israeli, and Internet and smartphone limitations will make this transition very difficult in these communities.

However, it is necessary. The situation on buses is very dangerous with drivers driving at full, or nearly full, speeds, and maybe even overfull speeds, while taking money and making change and printing receipts and keeping track of who paid and who did not yet pay. That is very dangerous. Especially in light of the new driving regulations recently announced by which a policeman can give a significant ticket for even the slightest distraction while driving - touching a phone, using WAZE, drinking coffee, etc, the bus drivers involvement with passengers paying while driving creates a very dangerous situation and if they find a way to minimize the drivers involvement in these matters while driving, it can only improve safety.




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bank branches closing across Israel

Logging into my bank account online recently has the following message popping up warning me of  upcoming changes in the bank..


The warning says that as of March 14, 2018, my branch (Hapoalim in RBS) will be converted to a branch  holding no cash and no clerk services. From that date and on, all relevant services will be provided via the self-service machines. Other direct channels to the bank, such as via Internet, telephone, and app, will continue to function and be available. When necessary, bank branch 692 (the central Bet Shemesh branch located in downtown Bet Shemesh) will be available for all clerical services.

This is a trend happening in all the bank chains all over Israel. They are closing and/or merging branches in order to consolidate and save money.

Personally, I hate going into the bank and avoid it as much as possible. I use the machines to deposit checks,  as I get a lot of these through my business, and I use the online services. The only time I go into the bank is if I am sent a notice that I need to come in and pick up a problematic check that I deposited, or if they tell me I need to come in to sign something. Once every few years I also need to renew my credit cards.

The biggest problem I see with this is that half the times the various self-service machines are not functioning properly. Currently, they can be fixed or rebooted relatively quickly (not including Saturday nights and Sundays when the branch is closed), as I or someone else can go into the bank and let them know, but with no actual bank behind it with real people talking to customers, I can see it taking longer to get the machines fixed. Maybe they will keep a small branch open with some services still provided by clerks, such as mortgage services and the like, and that will keep bank people nearby.

Additionally, with everyone needing personal service in the entire city going to one branch, that place will be packed and will be impossible to use.

Another point is that closing a branch in lieu of online services in a largely Haredi neighborhood seems like a bad idea. While many/most people do have Internet and app access, many do not and they need the in-bank services for a lot of what they do. 

I get why they are doing this but I don't like it, even though I don't like going into the bank anyway.




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In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve

the news last night had a story about left-wing protesters getting more aggressive in their protests outside the private areas (home, shul, etc) of Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit. It seems they made a bit of a ruckus and Mandelblit had to be removed by his security detail. The story includes the point that because of this he was unable to say kaddish for his mother after kiddush levana, as he had to be removed quickly.

French philosopher Joseph De Maistre said "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve".

Just two weeks ago Left-wing politicians refused to offset votes in the Knesset for Right-wing MKs that had to be absent due to deaths in their families. Angry politicians on the Right called their actions inhumane.

protests are legitimate. Why they think vulgar protests by the private areas of Mandelblit will get him to do what they want him to (regarding his influence over the investigations into PM Benjamin Netanyahu), is beyond me. It is clear though that these left-wing protesters really did get the leaders they deserve.



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laundry detergent hechshers

If you ever wondered why they bother putting hechshers on things like laundry detergent....

they must know that kids can do really stupid things, like the current Tide Challenge phase that has kids biting into, and ingesting the contents of, Tide laundry pods...

Kids out there - don't do this!




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Palestinians: If Israelis converted to Islam, would the conflict end? (video)







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Israeli Frenemies- Jan. 18, 2018 (video)








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test drive with Yair Sherki: reviewing his show on the Haredim of Brooklyn





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Melech Zilbershlag visits Haredi trades: The Shadchanit (video)







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Hakol Haba From Jerusalem - S2E1 (video)








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Jan 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

I will not be going back to Ben-Gurion for Pence. I shot with the sheriff, so I don’t need to shoot with the deputy. My picture with Trump was not a gimmick. If I go get a selfie with Pence, it would make my Trump picture a gimmick. When you succeed in getting the top guy, you don’t go back for the No. 2.

  -- MK Oren hazzan (Likud) about the upcoming visit of US Vice President Mike Pence


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Cycle Man

A Guest Post, cross-posted, by Seraya Ziv of Mask For Winter

The computer store is my last stop in the mall. Two guys work here, one in a yarmulke and one not. When I enter they’re poring over a magazine, heads together, and murmuring. I’d be worried about their reading material except they don’t startle, or even note that I’m right in front of them, tapping my nail on the glass display. When I ask for printer ink one smacks his lips, dog ears a page, and reluctantly pulls himself away. I glance at the cover: there, glossy and fungible, a four color spread of motherboards, chargers, routers, and drives. I sit down and wait.

A bear of a man fills the doorway and enters. Tattoos slither from the slab of one shoulder down a fat arm and drop anchor at his wrist. A black motorcycle helmet hangs from his hand. I’m calculating how deep the pepper spray is buried in my purse when Cycleman pauses, touches his fingers to the door’s mezuzah, and kisses them. The clerks go wild, “Yossi! You’re back!”  My ink is thrown aside. The three shake hands, elbows, and engage in a kind of arm wrestle that to men in Israel must translate as, “Has it been that long? I’m very glad to see you. How are the kids?” Cycleman, in the softest of baritones replies, “Thank G-d.”

I plunk down my credit card. The salesman bags my ink and rings me up, all the time drilling Yossi with questions rat-tat-tat-tat, when from the mall a woman wails, “Mommy, no!” Yossi bounds out, the two sales guys follow.  A tiny Filipina caregiver is struggling to keep an old woman from tipping out of her wheel chair. The woman’s head is white straw and bare scalp; her tongue is lolling to a side. Her eyes are opening and closing in waves, like she’s drowning.

In the same quiet voice, Yossi says something to the clerks, who pull out their phones. With three fingers of his imprinted arm Yossi palpates the side of the old woman’s neck, turns his watch hand palm up, and counts.  On his inner arm now exposed, in monochrome the color of dusk, a tattoo of the galaxy spins toward his pulse.

A team from Magen David Adom arrives in a flash. One of the EMTs slaps Cycleman on the shoulder, “Yossi. You’re back.”


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10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Israel-India Relationship (video)







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New Holocaust Project 'I Believe' - Let The Chain Continue, Unbroken! (video)







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Nas Daily : Found Out I''M Jewish! (video)







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Synagogues of Illinois (video)







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Music Video - R' Yoel Roth (video)







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Jan 17, 2018

from one pet-eater to another

Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai announced to the world that he has eaten dog meat and it is delicious. He says that why should it be any different than eating chicken or shrimp? He did this when he was in Vietnam. And when he was in Africa he ate termites and locust.

And I think he is right. Why should it be any different. From one pet-eater to another, besides for the kashrut issue, I see nothing wrong with eating an animal that was or could be a pet.

Huldai definitely got the headlines today with that admission.

I don't know if this should be a big deal or not, though many people are making a big deal out of it - from both an animal rights perspective and from a religious and Jewish state perspective. Huldai is a big boy and I do not feel like I need to tell him what he can and cannot eat. The Torah gave us all free will to choose to follow the Torah or not. I do not think it is my job to force him to follow the rules of the Torah just because I adhere to them. I feel bad that he so chooses, but it is his choice to make. And I do not think the fact that he ate dog meat negatively impacts the character of the Jewish state.


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Quote of the Day

the IDF needs to win wars, and is not meant to be advancing enlightened and liberal agendas, and for this it needs to allow its soldiers and the entire army to be faithful to its mission.... I am not excited about this campaign. At the end of the day there are roles and tasks for men and there are roles and tasks for women. That is how God created the world and that is how the world is good. Oy Vavoy if women will become men and men will become women. The world needs both male and female figures and anyone who tries to blur the clear differences is doing wrong for both him and for the world..

  -- MK Betzalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), regarding the appointment of the first female commander of the Air Force Pilots

if she was advanced and promoted solely to advance a feminist agenda yet is not actually qualified for the position and cannot fulfill her responsibilities to the fullest, I would agree with Smotrich. If she fulfills her responsibilities just fine and is fully capable of doing her job and was advanced and promoted because she was qualified and deserved it like anybody else, then I would disagree with Smotrich. Being that I do not know, I can't say anything definitive and can just hope the IDF promoted her based on professional considerations.



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lessons in faith from the NFL (video)



and here is the actual play... with 10 seconds to go and the Vikings down..

comments:
1. a guy ran into another guy - I love it!
2. he talks such strong faith and gives God so much credit for his successful play, while at the same time cussing
3. impressive faith


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what's happening with kashrut in Petach Tikva? (video)

there have been some big changes in the kashrut supervision of Rabbanut Petach Tikva. This specific problem is one that is relevant all over Israel, and not just in the Rabbanut, but the Rabbanut of Petach Tikva is the first to deal with it...




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the Haredim that don't vote for Haredi parties (video)








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Underdos: shul board meeting, episode 6:







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Yonina: new single - Mamtinim (Waiting) (video)







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Jan 16, 2018

the top secret kugel factory

Kikar has posted images from a secret underground "slick" in Jerusalem that is virtually unknown and its location is known to just a few people. This "slick", like the slicks used in the War of INdependence to manufacture and hide weapons and ammunition, is basically used for making thousands of kugels each week.

I am not sure what the purpose of the post is, but if you want to stop eating yerushalmi kugel, go over to the Kikar post to see the filthy slick that might just be making the kugel at your next kiddush.

And. the only reason I can think of to keep such a kugel factory so secret is to avoid taxes and supervision by the health ministry or other relevant authorities tasked with making sure nobody dies of food poisoning. If you can think of another reason, let me know.


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Quote of the Day

I have more than a few problems with the Kotel.. we invented the Kotel 50 years ago and turned it into the holiest place for the Jewish people and chased Arab families away from there. Since then, the Jewish people gave up the place that was the holiest until 50 years ago - Har Habayit.

  -- MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), when asked on a panel about the Kotel arrangement with the Women of the Wall.





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Gafni says minimarket law will be enforced

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle over the minimarket law.

Haredi MKs and ministers, along with some from the Likud, have been trying to calm the public over the passage of the law by saying nothing will change and the law won't, or can't, be enforced. Gafni, on Shabbos, speaking at a Bnei Braq Ichud Hatzala event, basically told them the whole thing is a bluff and the law will be enforced and he described how. Gafni said that they have a secret agreement with the PM that will enable them to use hundreds of agents that have been tasked with dealing with the illegal migrants for enforcing the minimarket law on Shabbos.

It turns out that even though Gafni spoke on Shabbos, someone, I don't know if it was a goy or a Jew, recorded it and leaked it to the media.

Gafni obviously blew his top when questioned about it.

Personally, I am happy it will be enforced. What is the point of fighting over a law proposal that once passed won't even be enforced. If they insisted on passing it, they should ensure it is also enforced. The result of enforcement might even be the eventual overturning of the law, perhaps by a future government, but that is how the Israeli government works.

The more upsetting part of this is not the enforcement of the law but the lies and deception. They are all publicly saying it wont be enforced in order to keep everyone calm, while secretly planning to enforce it. And specifically Gafni as well - he worked out the enforcement plan but was only willing to talk about it on Shabbos with people he thought could be trusted to keep it quiet and support him. An unusually stupid move by a normally smart politician. Politicians must know that anything they say, especially if controversial, will get out to the public, sooner rather than later.



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drop the Beis Yaakov

A group of Roshei Yeshiva have met to discuss a new seminar in Jerusalem for young women that is opening up. This is considered a seminary for "modern Haredi" women and they offer more diverse, and higher level, academic studies than your average Beis Yaakov.

The conclusion of the meeting was to warn people to stay away fro this seminary and to not send their daughters to it. They say the people running it are not compatible with the spirit of Beis Yaakov and sending one's daughters to it is putting them at educational risk.
source: Actualic

caveat: I don't personally know anything about this school, Bnos Chayil.

I don't understand what the rabbonim want - on the one hand, they will not accept girls from more modern families into the mainstream schools and instead they tell such epople to open a more modern school appropriate for them, while on the other hand they then come out in opposition to schools that are opened up for more modern students.

From the other perspective, maybe the people behind such schools should not call them Beis Yaakov. Start a different organization, a different chain of schools, and they will have no connection to the Beis Yaakov organization. Maybe then the rabbonim won't bother opposing them.

I understand everyone in the Haredi community wants to send their daughters to Beis Yaakov, as we tend to think that is the only kosher school for Haredi girls, and they do consider themselves Haredi, even if a bit more modern or more culturally Israeli. If they called the school something else, parents might hesitate before sending their daughters. Beis Yaakov has done a great job marketing itself as THE school for the frum girl (and in Israel specifically for the Haredi girl), and it will be difficult to supplant that with another chain of schools, but perhaps that is what needs to be done.




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Chaidak Politi with MK Tamar Zandberg (video)

I didnt thinkI was going to post this, as what does a discussion about Meretz and its policies have to do with me or with this blog.. turns out there are some interesting points discussed relating to religion..




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Palestinians: Should Palestinian schools teach Hebrew? (video)







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The piece of paper from El Salvador that saved lives (video)

I dont think I have ever heard this amazing story before

During the Holocaust, a diplomat from a faraway land used one piece of paper to save innocent lives. Jose Arturo Castellanos of El Salvador worked with Gyorgy Mandl, a Hungarian Jew, to secretly issue Salvadorian citizenship to Jews across Europe. Those with citizenship of El Salvador were protected from the Nazis. Their daring work saved the lives of at least 25,000 Jews. This is their story.






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Nas Daily : He Love His Neighbor (video)






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MEMORIES - OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO - The Portnoy Brothers (video)







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Jan 15, 2018

winter storm coming, predicted 260 years ago

The annual calendar in Israel with all the halachic zmanim and significant Jewish dates has an interesting note for this week.


The note, quoting the sefer "Elya Rabba", written about 260 years ago, says that whenever Rosh Chodesh Shevat comes out on a Wednesday, as it does this year (this week), that winter will bring a strong cold front and heavy snowfall. The sign for this is the acronym of "Vayigash" - ויגש - which stands for Yom Vav Gimmel Shvat, or Vav Yehiyeh Gimmel Shevat, or Sheleg Gadol Yehiyeh V'Kor. This is tried and tested.

(as an aside, the lower note in the picture above is also interesting. In it he writes that during Shevat one should try to chase peace more and make peace between friends, between spouses, even more than during the rest of the year. One should support those learning Torah and strengthen the weak, avoid speaking gossip of others and avoid running to bad things more carefully than during the rest of the year. The note does not say why).

Back to the top note. The note says it has been found to be true. I find it interesting because this week we will celebrate Rosh Chodesh Shevat on Wednesday, and the meteorologists are predicting a particularly stormy weekend in Israel beginning on Thursday night. They are saying we will have another storm of heavy rains with snowfall in the mountainous regions (including Jerusalem hilltops), with strong winds and unusually cold temperatures.

I guess we will find out for sure on Friday, but the timing is excellent.








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No Home Depot Here

A Guest Post by Saraya Ziv, cross-posted from the Mask for Winter blog

He’s standing over the kitchen island of my little rental, drawing horizontal and vertical shapes, naming them, and asking me what I want the porch of my new home to look like, this or that? His picture is a disparagement of ladders. The words he’s using, all of them English, mean nothing to me. There’s a communication gap here. I finally get it. My carpenter is from L.A. I will understand nothing he says.  

We go out to the courtyard where I point to the lattice work of a neighbor’s pergola and demand louvered instead. The porch guy pulls his reflector shades up onto his yarmulke, repeats my request, and asks if he got it right. I nod. “You can’t get louvered in Israel.” He looks at me like I’m breakable, and breaks it to me carefully, “There is no Home Depot here.” He waits to see how I take the news, writes LATTICE in large letters on his notepad, and packs off.

I return to the kitchen, gather my purse, water bottle, and books, and blunder out to catch my bus.

The road up from my village is being enlarged. Our bus gets stuck behind a highway construction backhoe. A semi-circle of kids and their fathers stand riveted, watching the backhoe operator lift stones from here and dump them there. I don’t know how it starts, but someone’s opened a super-size bag of cookies and is handing them around to fellow spectators. A parent shouts at the backhoe, shouting goes around, and now the operator applies his brake, jumps down, wipes his hands on his pants, and accepts a cookie from the father with the goods. More fathers step forward, the operator makes wide gestures over the landscape; the men look thoughtful, like they’re pondering a very difficult piece of Talmud. Eventually, our bus continues.

By the time we reach the City, a baby girl’s screaming soprano up front competes with raging tenors in the rear. We stop at an urban traffic light, where an arrow points to “Dead Sea.” I think of a sign tacked to a skyscraper in London pointing south-west, reading, “Staten Island.” Is it really possible to get to the Dead Sea from this intersection?

At the second bus stop in the City, a female soldier, wearing bookworm glasses and looking like she’s on her way to class, steps down. I wait while she helps the mother with the wailing daughter. When my foot hits land, I’m in Jerusalem.


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preventing flights funded by anti-Israel organizations

The Knesset has done some work limiting the influence in Israel of foreign left-leaning organizations, mostly in the form of the funding allowed to receive from such organization.

MK Yoav Kish (Likud) has come up with another limitation on the influence of such organizations, and he has proposed it as an amendment to the guidelines of the Knesset Ethics Committee.

Kish has proposed to disallow the ability for MKs to accept flights to locations abroad when those flights are paid for by organizations that work against Israel.

Kish's goal is to prevent MKs like Ahmed Tibi and Hana Zoabi from having their flights paid for so they can travel to foreign countries and participate in protests and rallies against Israel. Taking away the funding for their trips would, theoretically, prevent them from participating n these events.
source: Actualic

Not relevant to this but interesting nonetheless, according to his Wikipedia page, Yoav Kish is a direct descendant of Rav Shmuel Salant.

The question will always be what organization is considered as being anti-Israel. A list of such organizations is prepared by the Strategic Affairs Ministry, and that is what would be used for this determination as well.





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Quote of the Day

What has to be done to satisfy you? For the Western Wall rabbi to personally present you with a Torah scroll?

  -- Chief Justice Sohlberg, to representatives of Women of the Wall at the Supreme Court hearing about the canceled Kotel arrangement


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Halachos of Birchas Hagomel — Rubashkin: is all the celebrating appropriate? (audio)

here is the recent episode of the Headlines podcast.. the topic is, largely, the appropriateness of the celebrations around Rubashkin's release. I was hesitant to post this because I did not want to raise this issue again, after I said my opinion, but this is a discussion with rabbonim and lawyers and is interesting.



My only comment on this episode is that when interviewing the lawyer, Gary Apfel, Apfel was insistent that Rubashkin is really innocent in this case and was basically railroaded into a conviction. After Trump's commutation of the sentence, Apfel says the system of checks and balances works and an innocent man got out of jail - rather than taking the position that he did a crime and was over-sentenced and the commutation was fair because of the over-sentencing.

My comment would be that the fact that President Trump did not pardon Rubashkin but commuted his sentence, that shows that Trump was not convinced Rubashkin was really innocent, as Apfel suggests. Rather, Trump seems to have thought Rubashkin was guilty but was over-sentenced and he thereby righted a wrong. If the checks and balances with the commutation were to show Rubashkin's innocence, it would have to have been a pardon rather than a commutation. The commutations suggests guilt, though not deserving of the harsh sentence originally given - in opposition to Apfel's opinion.


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the price paid for Haredi women marrying later (video)

the discussions are mostly about working/learning/internet/cellphones and little to do with age, so I am not sure what the report really has to do with the title





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Inside the IDF - Episode 3: December 2017 (Yearender) (video)







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A Tour of the Temple Mount (video)







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Hakol Haba From Jerusalem - S2E1 (video)







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Jan 14, 2018

Quote of the Day

The ones transgressing the law are these groups...what do the Reform have with Jerusalem anyway? they erased Jerusalem from their siddur, they take the Torah scroll and desecrate it in the harshest way. If someone in another country would hurt others like they do, they would stone them

  -- MK Uri Maklev (UTJ), regarding the Supreme Court discussion today about the Kotel agreement with the Women of the Wall.

I am not sure what countries Maklev is referring to. Maybe in Arab countries they would be stoned for their behavior but not in Western countries.




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Adina Bar Shalom to lead Haredi women into the Knesset

Adina Bar Shalom, daughter of Rav Ovadia Yosef and accomplished person in her own right,  has announced that she is establishing a new political party that was compete in the upcoming elections, whenever they may be held. The new party is to be called "Bishvil Yisrael", and a number of other known names and personalities are rumored to be involved.
source: Walla News and Kikar

Bar Shalom tried something similar prior to the last elections, but her plans got thwarted when people from Shas pressured her to back down and join a new female directorship of Shas consisting of just her and Yaffa Deri. The board did nothing and after some time of being frustrated she resigned from it and from the Shas party in general. Now she is setting up her own party.

This is a big deal. With Shas struggling as it is, and Adina Bar Shalom pedigree and popularity, her party could hurt Shas to some degree. Her party might or not not pass the minimum threshold, but either way it could still do a lot of damage to Shas. And, Shas will not really be able to attack her the way they did with Eli Yishai last time, being the daughter of Rav Ovadia and all.

This is also a monumental step from the perspective of Haredi women. Yes, there was a Haredi women's party in the last election. They largely failed, but that is only true if the goal was getting into the Knesset at that moment. They were successful at starting a process - one that now has big names attached to it that will, whether this time or next, get some women into the Knesset and get even more women involved in the future.

Either way, the Right side of the political map continues to splinter with more and more parties, ensuring that thousands and thousands of votes will go to waste.



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Litzman says no chilul shabbos, pictures are recycled

From my perspective, the story with the minimarket law and the Litzman law and all the chilul shabbos that caused the recent crisis in the governing coalition was over. I figured that everything that could be said has been said, and it is time to move on to other things.

Sure enough, our government and representatives provides enough material to keep us entertained for as long as one might want. And this actually made me laugh when I first saw it.

Last night after Shabbos it became known that work has continued on the rail lines on Shabbos as it has along, even after MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) was reinstated in the Health Ministry - as Deputy Minister with Status of Minister - after having made a big production of resigning due to the chilul shabbos on the rail line works.

So, after Shabbos it gets announced that despite Litzman's return to the Health Ministry, the chilul shabbos has continued as if nothing has changed. This time it included drone footage of the work done on Shabbos.

Betzalel Kahn of Radio Kol Hai (you can also hear the interview at the link) asked Deputy Minister Litzman about the continued chilul shabbos. Funnily enough, Litzman denied it, claiming the whole thing is a lie just to make trouble for him and UTJ. Litzman claims the pictures going online every week documenting the chilul shabbos are all the same pictures being recycled week after week.

That denial made me laugh. Beyond that I have nothing to add.




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Facebook Status of the Day




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Israeli Frenemies- Jan. 12, 2018 (video)







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Nas Daily : The Billion Dollar City ! (video)








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test drive with Moshe Abutbol (video)






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Synagogues of Illinois (video)









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Meilech Zilbershlag wih the kugel machers (video)







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Jan 11, 2018

ineffective opposition with bad middos

Interestingly, the opposition MKs, led by MK Yoel Hasson (Hamachane Hatzioni) tried to thwart the law proposal that would allow MK Litzman to go back to leading the Health Ministry from the position of Deputy Minister with Escalated Responsibilities.

They pushed of the vote to continue even though a number of coalition MKs were not going to be present, as they were going to the funeral of Rav Raziel Shevach, hyd, and they once again refused to offset the votes of absent MKs.

Interestingly enough, once again they failed to block the proposal and the coalition successfully passed the law.

For all the inhumane behavior displayed this past week, I must say the opposition is extremely ineffective. They acted inhumane to accomplish something specific, a few times, and they could not even get it done. They are ineffective and it does not seem the bad behavior/middos were even worth it, considering their failure in meeting their goals. If they were going to fail anyway, they should at least have acted decently. Was it really worth it?




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musings from the Haredi supermarket

I ran into a supermarket this afternoon to get 2 things, and I experienced 2 things...

1. I stood in line as the person currently paying his bill of 352nis tried to do so entirely with small coins - 0.10, 0.50, 1, 2, 5 and 10 shekel coins that he was pulling out of sandwich bags and his pockets.

He was holding up the line as it took time to count out, and they had to recount and made a mistake in the count, etc, and the cashier was getting frustrated.

Normally this is something that is done as a "prank" of sorts when paying a parking ticket or an outrageous fine. Back in my days in high school guys would occasionally pay the fines received for missing davening with pennies or nickels.

And I blame all of you, me included. From now on when these guys walk around shul during davening collecting money, or when they knock on your door, DO NOT give them 1 shekel coins or 50 agurot coins. Give them larger denominations, such as 20 shekel bills, 50s or even 100s. Your chessed in giving small coins might just be outweighed by causing holdups for many other people in lines at the supermarket and other stores. Your chessed will be real chessed if you give them larger denominations that won't cause holdups - they'll get more money, you'll get more tzedaka merit points, and you won't be causing holdups in the lines around town.

2. The guy right in front of me paid with a 100nis bill. The cashier rejected it because it had been defaced - someone had scribbled over the face of Lea Goldberg to deface the face of the woman on his bill. They worked it out, as he had just gotten that bill from the main desk in return for something, so they exchanged it for another.

When it was my turn, the cashier explained to me that it was because the bill was defaced, not because it was counterfeit as I had initially thought. She said the machine rejects it because it is illegal and invalidates the bill. After I paid with my non-defaced 100nis bill, I joked and said that they are at least making the rest of our money more valuable as they force all these other bills to be taken out of circulation.

Live and learn.


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Noah and the kosher phone

According to a Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily, a Turkish academic is claiming that Noah, of Great Flood fame, had a cellphone and used it to communicate with his son shortly before the flood began.
(disclaimer: I have no idea as to the veracity of the story or the quality of this online publication or news source. But I like the story)

To Quote:
Speaking on state-run channel TRT 1 on Jan. 6, Yavuz Örnek, a lecturer at the Marine Sciences Faculty of Istanbul University, said Noah communicated with his son via cell phone as they were a long way from each other.
“There were huge 300 to 400-meter high waves and his [the Prophet Noah’s] son was many kilometers away. The Quran says Noah spoke with his son. But how did they manage to communicate? Was it a miracle? It could be. But we believe he communicated with his son via cell phone,” Örnek said.
He also claimed that Noah himself built the ship made of steel plates and this ship used nuclear energy.
“I am a scientist, I speak for science” Örnek added.
This reminds me of the joke that after digging deep into the ground archaeologists have determined that the lack of ancient cabling is proof that hundreds and thousands of years ago they already had cellphones and wireless technology.

I wonder if his cellphone worked during the flood or if he had trouble getting reception. Anyways I guess he would have had nobody to call, except the others on his family plan inside the Ark.

If Al Gore only invented the Internet in the 1980s and 1990s (a claim that Snopes says was never actually made), how would the cellphone have helped Noah pass the time in the Ark? Unless maybe they had Intenet back then as well!

Anyways, even if Noah did have a cellphone, surely it would only have been a kosher phone. I can envision Noah as the star of an upcoming marketing campaign...



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Ben Gurion reflecting on his exemptions to 400 yeshiva students


We have all heard many times the famous story of the meetings of the Chazon Ish and David Ben Gurion and things that were discussed there. I am referring specifically to the agreement that became the basis for the status quo on exemptions or deferrals of army service for the Haredi yeshiva students. The agreement had Ben Gurion agreeing to an exemption for the 400 yeshiva students at the time. That has become the basis for the exemptions and deferrals for what is no w tens of thousands of yeshiva students and is used every time the discussion of what to do arises anew.

The story is the story and what is done is done. I don't think I have ever seen this before, but it turns out that Ben Gurion later in 1963 sent a letter to Levy Eshkol expressing his regret for that agreement. He does not really regret the exemption of the yeshiva students and says it is at least worth investigating if this should be the policy or not - it is how he takes that to explore this as the cause of the growing Haredi extremism and what should happen to extremists.

I just don't like that the source for the letter seems to only be Hiddush and Haaretz, but, as they say, accept truth from wherever it might be found.. so here's the letter (and the Ben Gurion Heritage Foundation has affirmed the letter as true):

Ben-Gurion writes: "Perhaps there is reason to revisit the question of men in yeshivas, if they actually do need to be exempt from their army obligation." The haredi establishment rejected service in small numbers in 1949, allowing a small number from their community to study full-time in yeshiva. The agreement was established based on the assumption that students of high level yeshivot would be exempt from the military as long as they committed themselves to full-time Torah learning and in no other business, even other educational or voluntary pursuits. These yeshiva students embraced the idea that "His Torah is his art". In 1948, there were 400 such students learning in yeshivot.
In his letter to Eshkol, Ben-Gurion writes "The wild behavior of these extremists has crossed every boundary and I believe that I am in part responsible. I released these men from their obligation to serve the army. Although I made these decision when the numbers were small, but they continue to multiply, and in their unruliness, they are a danger to the honor of the country."
 
Ben-Gurion continues: "I recommend that every boy in yeshiva age 18 and over that is caught in these communities breaking the law, throwing stones, disturbing the peace or committing other acts of violence and bullying, draft them immediately into the military and have them serve just as all other young people do--30 months--not in a religious position, but as a regular soldier. There might be reason to investigate the question of all yeshiva students, if they truly need exemptions from military service. But law breakers certainly do not deserve this questionable privilege."
"I released these men from their obligation to serve the army. Although I made these decision when the numbers were small, but they continue to multiply, and in their unruliness, they are a danger to the honor of the country."

(thank you Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll for bringing it to my attention)



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Rabbi Dov Halbertal, Former Head of the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rabbi Meir Azari (video)

Rabbi Dov Halbertal, Former Head of the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Israel and Rabbi Meir Azari, Senior Rabbi at Bet Daniel, Tel Aviv speaking at ILTV Studio about the two sides of the recently proposed ‘Minimarket bill’





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Responding to Satmar's crazy Jerusalem claim (video)

Satmar/NK published a video that went viral, in Jewish community terms. The video was a response to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As they have done before, also to great success, they have Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro as their speaker. He looks like a normal, average, frum Jew, rather than looking like a Satmar chassid, and therefore his promoting such things is surprising, but also is more palatable. He also speaks well and is pleasant to listen to, again, not like the average Satmar spokesperson. They put him up as their front and draw people in.


Can you imagine anything more crazy than a rabbi claiming that Jerusalem wasn't the capital of the Jewish people or how about a rabbi saying that Hebrew was never the spoken language of the Jewish people? Meet Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, spokesman for Natruna (True Torah Jews) one of the most vocal anti-Israel organisation on the internet. Their latest video has been viewed by over a million people. So we decided to respond.



Satmar's original video (or maybe it is Neturei Karta):




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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at a Reception with the Foreign Press (video)







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A Tour of Mystical Israel - Amuka, Tzfat and Meron (video)







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Shlomo & Eitan Katz - Al Hatzdikim (video)







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Jan 10, 2018

the dog park that is or isn't in Elad

In the city of Elad some "concerned residents" are shocked at the news that the city is installing a dog park.

Here is the pashkevil screaming about this:



first Haredi city to build a dog park, putting fear into the residents, is this considered a city of torah, and all the rest.

To be fair, the city denies the accusation of a dog park being built.

I have no idea what is going on in Elad. I don't know if they are or are not building a dog park. I do not know if many residents of Elad own dogs or not.

My only question is, what is wrong with a dog park? If residents have dogs and need a dog park to take their dogs on walks, what is wrong with building one? Residents afraid of dogs don't need to go to that park. Without that park, and probably with it, dog owners in the city will walk their dogs through the streets of the city and in the general parks.

Residents afraid of dogs will come into far more contact with dogs without a dog park than with one, and the lack of a dog park is not going to prevent the ownership of such pets by residents of the city.

I have no idea whether the claim is true or not, but I do not understand the problem, even if it were true.



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a blow to Israel's image

you can't make this stuff up!

from the Times of Israel:
Senior Foreign Affairs Ministry officials warned Wednesday that Treasury plans to slash its funding will harm the country’s security and deal a fatal blow to Israel’s image and activity overseas.
as if they are doing such a good job with all the money they are getting! Maybe a blow to the image they are creating will make Israel look good!




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senseless victims of the conflict

Gershon Baskin writes, in promotion of his new book:
On Monday I sat with a Palestinian lawyer that I know in Ramallah whose brother was killed in Ramallah by Israeli soldiers. His brother tried to kill an Israeli soldier, and did not succeed and was killed instead. He is not a hero, he is not a martyr. He is another senseless victim of this conflict. Last night an Israeli Rabbi was shot and killed by Palestinians. He was the father to six children. Yes, he was a settler, he was also a human being who had the right to live. He too was another senseless victim of this conflict. We all have too much pain and too much suffering.

I have spent my life bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to think and learn together how to end this conflict, how to build partnerships, how to cooperate and how to live in peace. We have failed until now, but we have the ability to learn from our errors. We have the ability to make peace.
Baskin writes about a Palestinian lawyer whose brother was killed by Israeli soldiers while he was trying to kill a soldier. He then writes about a settler who was killed yesterday by Palestinians. He calls them both senseless victims of the conflict.

Baskin does not get the difference between someone who was killed while in the act of killing someone else, and someone else just driving home who was killed? Is he that dense?

No matter how you deal with the conflict, no matter what you think about who was here first or second, who took what from whom, no matter how much you think the Israelis are occupiers, and who suffers more or less from the ongoing conflict, there is a clear and obvious difference between someone who was killed while trying to kill someone else and between someone who was doing nothing to anybody else.

The two should never be equated




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high speed train to bring people to Jerusalem on Pesach

Minster of Transportation Yisrael Katz has announced that the new high speed train between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will begin to operate right before Pesach, in 3 months - specifically March 30, 2018 - Erev Pesach.

According to Katz, the first 3 months transportation on the new line will be free when using a rav kav card. The route is 28 minutes between the two cities. The train will fly at a speed of 160kmph, which is almost as fast as the average driver on the highways of Israel when there is no traffic.

Initially the route will be between the train station next to Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem and the Hagana train station in Tel Aviv. There will be two trains per hour on this route (to start). I don't know if that is two trains in each direction per hour or two trains total, one in each direction.

The second stage will add a second train track and will increase the number of trains to 3 per hour - every 20 minutes a train will leave Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and vice versa - with the possibility of increasing the routes to 6 per hour when necessary.

The interesting part is Katz's promotion in the announcement, saying that by Pesach we will enable all the people of Israel to ascend in the masses to Jerusalem via the high speed train from Tel Aviv. We are connecting and strengthening the capital, Jerusalem, and connecting to the history of Jerusalem.

I say interesting because Katz did not speak about connecting Jerusalem to the central region, making it easier for people to get to work or tourism. He did not talk about other benefits of the train bringing people to work in Jerusalem, possibly creating more expansion of business, more tourism, other financial benefits to the country or to those specific cities. He spoke about bringing people to Jerusalem, helping them connect to Jerusalem and the history. He spoke about them coming to Jerusalem to visit on Pesach and be a part of the holiday in Jerusalem.

There are a lot of benefits to the new train. Katz focused on the most Jewish of them.












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Deputy Minister Tzippi Hotoveli interview (video)







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One on One with Alan Dershowitz- Dec. 21, 2017 (video)






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Israeli Life-Changing Technologies (video)







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I Officiated My First Wedding! (video)

Meir Kay has so much energy! I get tired just watching him.





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Benny Friedman - Reb Yehoshua Omer (video)







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Jan 9, 2018

a fair day's wage for a fair day's work

as they say, a fair day's wage for a fair day's work...


for those that do not understand the ad, a large family blessed with children is looking for a volunteer to come once a week and help with light housework, and in the merit of the mitzva done, the volunteer will merit having a large family with many children of her own...

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new immigrant benefits being slashed for the wealthy

The Ministry of finance is recommending in its new budget proposal that potential new immigrants who would be considered wealthy, defined as owning assets north of half a million shekels in value would not get the financial benefits/incentives of aliya that all immigrants are meant to get. At the other end, they also propose increasing the basket of benefits by 10% for those who do qualify.

It seems they think that they are spending money on bringing people to Israel who do not need that money or assistance.

The Finance Ministry expects to save 100 million shekel in the Ministry of Absorption from this move. along with another 30 million shekels in the Ministry of Housing.
source: Ynet

good? bad? I don't know.

I do hope they studied the matter thoroughly and have concluded that canceling these benefits will not have an adverse effect among people who are considering aliyah.

I also hope that the number, 500,000nis, takes into account actual wealth and not just assets held - houses and cars not yet sold might push someone over the maximum to get benefits, but that does not mean the candidate is wealthy, especially if mortgages and financing are not taken into account. And then there is student debt, and other debt that should be taken into account, even if the potential immigrant has assets and a good job.

I can understand not spending a lot of money to help people who do not need to be helped, but they have to make sure they are not turning them away in the process, and that the definition of "wealth" being used is realistic so that people who do not help won't be turned away.





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Am I your Shabbos Goy?

  -- Deputy Finance Minister Itzik Cohen

Cohen, a Haredi Deputy Minister from Shas, was upset that MK Moshe Gafni abstained from voting on one of the reservations against the minimarket law - specifically on the reservation that created an exception for the gas station uqick stop stores. Gafni, it seems, did not want to actively vote to allow that chilul shabbos so he abstained. Cohen, and others from Shas got upset that they had to vote on it to make sure it would pass while Gafni took the liberty of passing on it, making them the "shabbos goy" of UTJ



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Chaidak Politi with Yair Lapid (video)







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Palestinians: Do you support non-violent resistance? (video)






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Michelin Chef Expands Chain of Kosher Cheap Eateries - Jan. 4, 2018 (video)

in Bet Shemesh (maybe other places as well) it is even mehadrin





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I'm Palestinian, My Roommate is Jewish: Hummus Fight (video)







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Simcha Leiner | Ribono | Official Video






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Jan 8, 2018

Mayor Moshe Abutbol calls on extremists to leave city

in light of the stoning attack today in RBS B against a car driving through with a soldier in uniform, the mayor, who is out of town currently, has put out a declaration through "his people", and it is important enough that I have decided to bring it here and translate it:
עצוב שישנם תושבים כאלו קיצוניים. אני חוזר על קריאתי בעצרת יום הזיכרון לחללי צה"ל היקרים, לאותם קיצוניים, להסתלק ולעזוב את העיר. הם אינם מתאימים לאחדות הנדרשת בבית שמש."
"אני מוקיע זאת גם בשם החוק וגם בשם ההלכה היהודית."
"דברים דומים נאמרו על ידי גם בחנוכת בית יד לבנים שהקמתי לזכר חללי צה"ל הי"ד."
"אני קורא למשטרה ולרשויות החוק לאתר את הפושע ולהענישו במלא חומרת הדין"
"המרים יד על חברו נקרא רשע".
ראש העיר נמצא בשעות אלו מחוץ לעיר וביקש כי הודעתו נחרצת זו למעשה נפשע זה תגיע לכל תושבינו.
It is upsetting that there are residents so extreme. I am repeating my call from the ceremony on Memorial Day to those extremists, to leave the city. They are not compatible with the unity needed in bet Shemesh. 
I denounce them in both the name of the law and in the name of the Jewish halcha.
I have said similarly at the dedication ceremony of the Yad lBanim home that I established to memorialize the fallen soldiers, hy"d.
I call upon the police and the legal authorities to identify the perpetrator and to punish him to the full extent of the law. 
One who raises his hand against a fellow Jew is called a wicked person



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