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Jan 31, 2012

Interesting Posts #352

Interesting Posts #352

1. Charging for Torah

2. Slap the Witnesses

3. With Hejab or Without Hejab

4. Appreciating The Two Month Salary Rule

5. Not a Feiglin Fanatic, but a Jewish People Fanatic

6. Who Moved Feiglin's Cheese

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Moshe Feiglin and PM Benjamin Netanyahu voting in today's Likud primaries
Whoever wins today, and no matter what the final percentages are, democracy always wins when people can choose to run and when people can vote, no matter how predictable the results might be...

Customs Waiver On Goods Finally In Effect

It has been nearly two months since the Israeli government approved a decision to waive import duties on purchases of a great variety of products made over the Internet up to a value of 1200 NIS.

It seems the decision was passed but was never actually signed into effect. Until yesterday that is. Kef International, one of the major shipping companies, posted recently on their email list newsletter that despite having passed the approval, many people had suffered by ordering things based on the news announcement but in actuality the customs officials have still been charging the duties, because the Finance Minister had not signed the official order.

According to Ynet, yesterday Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz finally signed the order and put the new regulation into effect.

Personally I still would not test it until I see the customs officials actually letting such goods through duty free. Though I also just found the original press release put out by the tax authorities yesterday making the announcement. So it seems pretty safe.

For a few additional details, this is how it works. The waiver of duties applies only on such goods delivered by mail - it does NOT include carrying items in your suitcase when travelling or any other such method. In addition to the waiver of duties on goods up until 1200 NIS, there is an additional waiver of the purchase tax  on some goods with a value of up to $75 (the bar was previously set at $50). As well, you should know that the price of shipping is included when considering the value of the goods.

I am still looking for the full list of goods the waiver applies to. According to Ynet, the tax authorities had posted the full list when the waiver was being considered. I have yet to find it.

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

We fought on behalf of the young couples. What was always before us was that  the widest majority possible in Israel should benefit. I represent the SHAS party and that is a party that represents all parts of society and just a particular sector. SHAS is the only one that is concerned for the weaker sectors and is willing to pay the price for it... Only people who do not understand math say things like that (RG: that he is setting criteria that is beneficial specifically for the haredi community) - who accumulates years of marriage with no children, is it the haredim? Do haredim accumulate years of marriage and stop at two children?

  -- Minister of Housing Arial Attias

Minister of Internal Security Coming To Bet Shemesh Today

Minister of Internal Security Yitzchak Aharonovitch has announced that he will be coming, today, to Bet Shemesh to take a look and see for himself how things are being dealt with. Aharonovitch's office explained that he goes around the country to see things under his authority and this trip is nothing unusual and will be spent checking out both Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh.

Interestingly, the hooligans do not like the idea of him coming to check things out. It seems they prefer that the area should remain lawless and unsupervised. Kikar quotes the hooligans as saying that "he is coming only to instigate us. The past week has been quiet in Bet Shemesh, but it seems they are looking for action and balagan in order to get the media to talk about it. We will know how to protest against Aharonovitch. We also have not forgotten how Nisso Shaham (head of Jerusalem police who recently declared war against the hooligans of Mea Shearim) has done things to the Haredim that no other police chief has done.."

It should get interesting....

The Day I Met Rick Santorum

Considering that today is the day of the Likud primaries (get out and go vote if you are a Likud member!), and today is also the Florida primaries in the Republican race, I decided to dig up this old picture, scan it and post it.

In 1997 Rick Santorum, one of the candidates running in the Republican primaries for the nomination to run for the office of President of the USA, came to Israel on an AIPAC mission. At the time he was Senator of Pennsylvania. I was invited to an event that he was going to be attending.. I cropped out the other people in the picture to "protect their identities"...

Me out partying with Rick Santorum

Interview With An IDF Paratrooper (video)

Interview With An IDF Paratrooper

Yosef Daniel's Nation of God (video)

Yosef Daniel's Nation of God

"Aleh Katan" Shimmy Engel feat: Yishai Lapidot (video)

"Aleh Katan" Shimmy Engel feat: Yishai Lapidot

Jan 30, 2012

Banning Shofar Blowing Reminiscent Of The British Mandate

In an interesting lawsuit the court in Jerusalem ruled that the police had the right to stop people from blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashana at the Kotel HaKotton.

The Kotel HaKotton, the "Little Kotel", is a stretch of wall further down in the Muslim Quarter that is an extension of the Kotel. The Kotel HaKotton is actually located much closer to the area of the Holy of Holies, the Kodesh Kodashim, and is a popular albeit fairly neglected, place of prayer for those "daring enough" to walk through the Muslim Quarter to get there.

This past Rosh Hashana during prayer services at the Kotel HaKotton, a fellow blew the shofar. A policeman who was in the area told him to stop. When he did not, the shofar was confiscated and the fellow was detained for a few hours and then slapped with a restraining order keeping him away from the area for 5 days.

This fellow then sued the police for damages resulted from wrongful arrest, theft of the shofar and other reasons.

The court ruled against the fellow and in favor of the police. You can read the entire 9 page court decision at the court website (like all Israeli government websites it only works in Internet Explorer). To be brief, it all boils down to the point that the area is a sensitive one and the police have to weigh freedom of religious expression versus public safety. Considering that the blowing of the shofar in that area could upset the Muslims and create a dangerous situation, the police have the right to limit the religious expression.

This decision is very similar to the decision used by the police to limit prayer, to ban prayer actually, on Har HaBayit. The courts defended the rights of Jews to pray on Har HaBayit as aright of religious expression, while at the same time giving the police the power to choose to overrule that and limit prayer based on issues of public safety.

It is a shame that the police use such outdated methods instead of controlling the potential violence. We should be sensitive to the history of the place, that being that the British banned the blowing of the shofar for those very same reasons, while we have turned those who blew the shofar despite the ban into heroes, not just religious heroes but national heroes as well for standing up to the British. And for our own authorities to now be enforcing a similar ban due to similar concerns is perhaps an expression of the once expressed dream to be a nation like any other.

Our authorities should allow such activities, while working to maintain control and keep the peace. Without getting into legal arguments, as the courts made the legal decisions, it seems from a more national perspective it is in our interests to not limit Jewish expression the way other governments in history tried to.

Eidah Threatens Mekorot Over Suspected Graves Near Highway 38

And while on the topic of Israeli highways, Highway 38 - from Shaar HaGuy junction (officially spelled Shaar HaGay for unknown reasons) until Bet Shemesh has become famous for the traffic jams that one can get stuck in at almost any time of the day. Leaving Bet Shemesh, coming into Bet Shemesh, morning, evening - you name it, the highway is just not designed to bear the size of the city with the natural traffic resulting.

Traffic is about to get worse.

In the area of the Eshtaol junction there is road work going on to improve the road at that point and laying new water lines. According to reports on Kikar and Bechadrei the Eida says there are known graves in the area dating back to the time of the Temple Era. They do not want Mekorot to do any digging, as such digging would result in the disturbing those ancient graves.

The Eida has sent a letter warning Mekorot saying "As Mekorot is installing a new water pipe, near Moshav Eshtaol in a place where there are burial caves dating from the time of the Temple, and there is reason to suspect this will cause harm to the graves, and currently they are working without any supervision, therefore the Badat"z is issuing a warning to not perform any work without supervision by someone appointed by the Badatz. The public is called upon to be ready at a moments notice if called upon to protect the integrity and the honor of the yesheinei afar (sleepers of the dust) wherever they might be".

According to Bechadrei the announcement of the letter by the Badatz is suspect as the work in the area of the graves has already been completed and Mekorot is now working in a different, albeit nearby, area. Mekorot also says they dont understand what the Badatz's problem is as they have no intention to disturb graves and they have not ordered any such work of digging in that area where the graves are located.

Perhaps the Badatz is looking to get back some of the respect they have recently lost in the haredi street with all the violence and fighting. Protecting graves was almost always an issue in which the haredi public has stood behind the Badatz, and perhaps they are trying to make an issue, even where one might not exist, in order to get back some of that support. Of course there is also the issue of the power struggle and money, as both Bechadrei and Kikar describe the internal fighting between the different organizations that want to control the situation, but I suspect the main issue is retaking some of the lost support by renewing a generally popular issue.

Driving The wrong Way on The Ayalon

In yesterday's crazy news, a driver was caught over the weekend driving in the wrong direction on the Ayalon Highway.

No, the driver was not drunk. The driver is 87 years old and was disoriented (to say the least). Even after the fact, the driver admitted he had realized he was going the wrong way (he says he was trying to find a place where he could do a quick u-turn to correct it) but he still denies he was even on the Ayalon Highway.

By the way, the driver says he was on his way to the beach. he was wearing flip flops on his feet. And neither the police nor the DMV have yet been able to figure out where and how he got onto the Ayalon while driving in the wrong direction.

You can see the fellow driving the wrong way on Ynet, as it was caught on the Ayalon security cameras. Not very exciting video, but you can see it.

Realistic Solution To Solving "The Haredi Problem" (video)

Realistic Solution To Solving "The Haredi Problem"

I should add that Naftali Benet is not the first person to come up with this idea, of exempting haredim completely from military duty and allowing them to enter the workforce unrestricted. Yossi Beilin has suggested this many times, among others. It has so far been rejected because the public does not want to agree to have compulsory draft for every 18 year old while letting the haredim get off and join the workforce without going though the same obligations.

Hugo Chavez Stealing Jewish Businesses and Property (video)

Hugo Chavez Stealing Jewish Businesses and Property

Kosher Symbol Blues - Mendel Singer (video)

Kosher Symbol Blues - Mendel Singer

Jan 29, 2012

Train To Eilat To Take 2 Hours

PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced today that a train line will be erected to Eilat. Netanyahu said travel time to Eilat will be 2 hours (I assume from Tel Aviv, but he did not say). The line would be used as a passenger route and also as a cargo route for transferring cargo to Europe from Asia.

This plan was raised by Ariel Sharon many years ago. It has never gotten off the ground in any way beyond lip service. I hope Netanyahu gets this project going as it could really make a big difference in the development of the South.

Interesting Posts #351

Interesting Posts #351

1. Anglo Oleh Keeps Fitness Shop Open After Robbery

2. The Perils of Potch Culture

3. A One-Way Street

4. Burning Your Sink

5. A Most Difficult Case

6. Tel Aviv.. Where The Street Is Everyone's Front Yard

7. Wicked Writers Warp Wikipedia

8. Is Day Trading Good Pasnosso Post Kolel?

9. New Wedding Customs

10. Give This Dad A Medal

11. Tensions Between Religious and Secular Jews Go Way Back

Standing In Line At The Lishkat Giyus

I hate bureaucracy as much as the next guy. And I hate standing in line even more than the next guy.

It is the time of the year again when the yeshiva students must submit their forms requesting their deferments from the army for the coming year. Submitting the request entails going down to the lishkat giyus and handing in the form.

According to Channel 2 News there were a lot of complaints about the long lines of yeshiva students and the lengthy delays it caused. the complaints were from yeshiva students themselves who had to stand in line. According to one of the students who spoke to Channel 2, there were 150 people in line and he had to wait an entire hour to submit his form!

As I said, I hate waiting in line and can commiserate with them. When the process is automatic, there is not really a reason it has to be done so inefficiently. Find a way to bring everyone in, maybe by scheduling appointments over a few days or by scheduling a certain amount per hour and give the students allotted times to show up. Nothing is gained creating a line of 150 people and making everyone stand around for a lot of wasted time. I am sure it causes tension for the clerks as well, and not just for the students waiting.

That being said, such complaining does not look good. They are there getting deferments, and they cannot be bothered to give up an hour or two? From the perspective of the soldiers, they are giving up 3 years and you complain about giving up an hour or two?

Such complaints should not really be voiced, but the authorities in charge of arranging the deferments, the army in coordination with the vaad hayeshivot and whatever politicians or askanim are involved, should get together and make this process more efficient.

Ministerial Responsibility For Carmel Fire

Today's big news is the State Comptroller report singling out Ministers Yuval Steinitz and Eli Yishai for the way they mishandled the Carmel fire 14 months ago. The report supposedly blames them personally but only gives them indirect responsibility. The report also does not call on them to resign, but expects social pressure to force Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire them.

Steinitz is under fire for having delayed allocation of budgets to the fire services. He delayed allocation of funds because he was insisting on reforms. Lindenstrauss is asserting that the funds should have been distributed parallel to the insistence of reforming the system.

Yishai is under fire for failing to prepare the fire services for emergency situations. Lindenstrauss rejects Yishai's claim that he did everything possible in his power and delays or lack of funding were beyond his control.

Will they be fired? Will they resign? Will they refuse? Only time will tell. Without the Comptroller saying it must happen they have an easy way out. This is, perhaps, the beginning of a new culture in which ministers will be held responsible for their ministries. The Comptroller did not go far enough, but it's a start.

Black Tomatoes and Red Lemons

Israeli scientists have done it again. World shattering discoveries and inventions have become the standard for Israeli scientists.

The latest is black tomatoes. Along with black tomatoes newly invented includes red lemons, seedless lemons, a new species of strawberry (without all the bugs perhaps?), rainbow carrots, along with other inventions like a crop dusting robot and thermal plant imaging devices.

From Ynetnews:
The next Arava Agricultural RD exhibition will feature a brand new Israeli development – the black tomato.

The new tomato, which sports the name "Black Galaxy," was developed by Technological Seeds DM. The company says that the color is the produce of a special pigment, which was derived from blueberries and introduced into the new species.

The pigment is photosensitive and the longer the tomato is left on the vine, the darker it gets.

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the developers as saying that the unique pigment also carried health benefits, such as a high concentration of antioxidants and Vitamin C, which are known to help boost the immune system and prevent various diseases.

The black tomato will make its worldwide debut at the Arava Agricultural R&D Exhibition, in early February. Over 250 companies from Israel and the world over will participate in the expo, which is also open to the public.

Among other new edible creations, the show will feature seedless lemons, a new species of strawberries, red lemons and rainbow carrots – which are yellow, purple and pink; as well as the newest agro-tech developments, such as thermal plant imaging, a crop dusting robot and more.

Getting you hands on a black tomato or a purple carrot might be a little difficult, though; since they are now slated for export only.
Our salads are about to get that much more colorful... at least after they eventually begin selling these tomatoes locally. This almost reminds me of green ketchup.

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

We don't want to be sandwiched between a nuclear state, which is Israel, and a potential nuclear state, which is Iran...Geography is the ruler here. They are our neighbors. We would love to have good relations with them. Imagine the wonderful things that could happen. The cross-Gulf culture and trade. What benefit it could bring to the area!
With our brain power, and Jewish wealth we can do wonders.

 --- Saudi Arabian Prince Turki Al-Faisal in Davos

(hattip to Yaak)

Republican presidential Debate: Gingrich and Romney on Israel (video)

Republican presidential Debate: Gingrich and Romney on Israel

Rainbow in the Night (video)

Rainbow in the Night

From the Youtube description:
Rainbow in the Night, a short YouTube clip, is a brief but exceptionally powerful video created specifically for today's fast paced generation. Using stunning cinematography, a haunting score, hard hitting lyrics and vocals that will touch the deepest recesses of the soul, this historical work offers a glimpse into World War II Krakow as seen through the eyes of a survivor.
Beginning with footage of a 1939 original oil painting of a synagogue being ravaged by the Nazis, shown at a private event in the survivor's home, Rainbow in the Night is an exquisitely emotional journey, as the survivor recalls first the warmth of his childhood home, then the shock and disbelief as people are forced to leave their homes for the Krakow ghetto, taken to an extermination camp and after enduring unspeakable cruelty, finally liberated.
Set against a backdrop of utter despair and hopelessness, the survivor relives the inexplicable power that enabled him to persevere, the rainbow in the figurative night that promised better days to come. Culminating triumphantly with our hope for the future, the faces of hundreds of modern day Jewish children, Rainbow in the Night is both a euphoric tribute to the indomitable human spirit that enabled the Jewish people to survive against all odds and also a call to arms, to rekindle the spark of Jewish pride and unity among Jews worldwide, as we continue to rebuild the generations that were destroyed by the Nazis.

Jan 28, 2012

The Eency Weensy Spider (video)

The Eency Weensy Spider

This has nothing to do with anything. i just came across it and had never heard anything like it before. Thought you would enjoy...

Likud Primaries Debate (in Bet Shemesh) (video)

The Likud primaries are this week, and Bet Shemesh hosted a Likud debate so people could get to know the ideas behind the different candidates..

Likud Primaries Debate (in Bet Shemesh), Part 1:

Likud Primaries Debate (in Bet Shemesh), Part 2:

Jan 27, 2012

Brand New Song from MBD "Omdos Hayu Ragleinu" (video)

Brand New Song from MBD "Omdos Hayu Ragleinu"

Quote Of The Day

Quote Of The Day

Our family wants to make this demonstration as a big hug to all the Chareidim who have to suffer living amongst these criminals. I hope we can help provide them with the strength to deal with the suffering which they must cause them and also empower them to fight against it by joining our cry.

   --- Omri Mashiach, brother of Natalie Mashiach

(demo is delayed for technical and weather forecast reasons)

Sending Flowers From RBS To Natalie Mashiach

The following message was sent to the local email list and I encourage people to participate.
Natali Mashiach experienced the darker side of RBS a few days ago..
It's now our chance to show her we abhor this radical behaviour and we Do have a Heart!

Your last opportunity to put a few Shekels in the box at Gals Flower Shop (next to Yaaleh bakery on Nahal Kishon) is Friday 11.30am.

Thee bouquets will be sent to Natali in Bet Shemesh at Noon.

She will be pleasantly surprised when we convey the True Loving side of our exceptionally warm community!!

Dont miss out! Let's fill the box asap Friday morning!

The smash glass that wouldn't (video)

The smash glass that wouldn't

Nokia ringtone during concert of classical music (video)

Nokia ringtone during concert of classical music

The violinist performing in the video below is clearly very talented, as well as a quick thinker..

Maybe when someone's cellphone goes off in shul the chazzan should start singing the services to the same tune...

Jan 26, 2012

Is Mashiach Responsible For Paying For The Damage Done?

I was wondering if Natalie Mashiach would have to pay for the damage done to her car. The car was a rental, from Shlomo Sixt, and, assuming she had not bought full coverage "walk away" insurance, she should technically have to pay the deductible. On the other hand, this was a big story, similar to a terror attack. I was wondering if she would be made to pay for the damage done - in the form of the deductible.

I went into Shlomo Sixt and asked the clerk what would be. When a similar story happens from Palestinians, the State pays for the damage, due to it being labeled a terror attack. In this situation there is no recognized terror organization behind the attack and it will be labelled as a crime rather than a terrorist attack. Maybe if Ketzaleh's attempt to label these thugs as a recognized terrorist group would pass this would be different, but so far they are not recognized as such.

The clerk's response was that they do not know what will happen and if she will have to pay or not. Nothing similar has ever happened [to their cars] before.

What do you think? Would she have to pay? I don't see why they would not be able to charge her for the damage (the deductible), unfortunate for her as that might be, but she should also be able to sue the perpetrators for it, assuming the police catch and prosecute the right people.

Following In Eli Cohen's Footsteps

The other day marked 47 years to the day Syria announced it had captured an Israeli spy that had infiltrated into the highest ranks of the Syrian government - Eli Cohen.

At a ceremony to mark the day, a ceremony that was attended mostly by people from the Mossad and other intelligence groups that knew Cohen, one soldier's presence was unique. The soldier is the grandson of Eli Cohen and he is serving in the same Intelligence unit in which Eli Cohen, the grandfather, began his career. (source: NRG)


Potential Twinning With Bet Shemesh Called Into Question

Many Israeli cities have partnerships with other cities around the world. They call them twin cities or sister cities. Bet Shemesh has a lot of sister cities. It promotes development, business ties and tourism between the cities. I do not know how a city chooses which city to partner with, based on what criteria.

Bet Shemesh has "sisterships" with a number of cities around the world. According to the Bet Shemesh municipal website, they have twinning programs with 9 cities. The countries include the USA, England, Germany, China, South America and Croatia.

A city that has been considering entering into such a partnership with Bet Shemesh, and recently passed the decision to do so, is Montogomery County in Maryland. Unfortunately, they read the news out in Montgomery County. Bet Shemesh has been the subject of a letter to the editor calling into question the decision to twin with Bet Shemesh considering the recent bad press.

From the Gazette:
Last summer, The Gazette published a glowing article about Montgomery County's Sister City Program, extolling the good works done in the impoverished city of Morazan, El Salvador.

Briefly, the same article mentioned that the program would next move into Beit Shemesh in Israel, with county officials explaining that it was chosen because the Jewish community there already had a relationship with the city. However, that same city is recently in the news — the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and others — for its ultra-orthodox residents' extreme harassment of children who they say are dressing "immodestly."

The Christian Science Monitor article reported: "In Beit Shemesh, prominent signs calling for modest dress and excluding women from certain sidewalks near synagogues have been tolerated for years in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood near the elementary school, which happens to serve a less strict group of Orthodox Jews ... For months now, 8-year-old Na'ama Margolis and her classmates have endured insults and spitting ..."

Even other Israelis have reacted with outrage. Einat Horovitz, a spokeswoman for Israel's nonprofit Religious Action Center, was quoted as saying, "This ties into whether we are a democratic liberal state that protects women's rights, or whether we're not going to be a democracy in the future."

So, we have to ask, why is Montgomery County twinning with such a city? Did it do any research, other than the recommendation of the local "Jewish community?” (Note that the more liberal Jewish Voice for Peace condemns this choice.)

When residents inquired by phone, we learned that the decision was made behind closed doors, without even county council involvement, and that "human rights" was not a consideration. It's also worth asking why a town in Israel — which ranks as the fourth largest arms exporter in the world and has the eighth largest military — needs the support of Montgomery County (compared to the obviously needy El Salvador).

Pam Bailey, Washington, D.C.
(Tip of the Hat to Joel)

When Christmas Met Tu B'Shvat

Bet Shemesh Scholars On Path To Save Shechita

Some local Bet Shemesh people are looking to save kosher shechita in Europe.

Some European countries have been trying to pass laws that would require stunning animals before slaughtering them. This would effectively be a ban of sorts on shechita, as a stunned animal is considered treif.  Professor Rael Strous and Dr. Ari Zivotofsky have been conducting research into the effects stunning has on an animal. The results, briefly, are that stunning the animal causes far more pain and trauma than the act of shechita does.

From the Jpost:
An Israeli study on electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for severely depressed or psychotic patients has apparently disproved the claim that the similar process of stunning animals before slaughter is humane and minimizes their suffering.
Prof. Rael Strous, a psychiatrist at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Be’er Ya’acov Mental Health Center, has just published an article on the subject in the journal Meat Science together with Bar-Ilan University researcher Dr. Ari Zivotofsky.
The researchers reached the conclusion that electric stunning of animals, often advocated as kinder than kosher slaughter, “is in fact cruel and barbaric,” as if one administered ECT without first giving patients sedation and/or general anesthesia.
The team studied ECT given to depressed patients – in which a strong electric shock is given under sedation and/or anesthesia to those who are not helped by conventional anti-depressive medication – as a comparison for the stunning of animals. This was unique research in which medical procedures used on humans were investigated to learn about the suffering of animals.
“Thus, introducing stunning, as we know from the experience in psychiatry on humans, defeats the objective of more humane slaughter,” they wrote. Animals that are inadequately stunned because of improperly positioned electrodes or other problems could suffer pain for a minute or more before losing consciousness, they said.
Strous said all leading Orthodox rabbinical arbiters around the world – except for a single rabbi in New Zealand – insist electrical stunning of animals before ritual slaughter is forbidden. In shechita, Jewish ritual slaughter of kosher animals, an extremely sharp knife is used to quickly sever a major blood vessel in the animal’s neck. This, the rabbis have long said, minimizes distress and pain to the animal as it loses a large amount of blood and consciousness very rapidly.
“Several European countries are introducing compulsory stunning prior to animal slaughter,” Strous told The Jerusalem Post. “This would in essence ban shechita for the first time since the Nazis in Europe.
The “stunning bill” was already passed in the lower house in the Netherlands, Strous said, “and only recently delayed in the upper house due to much lobbying – including, I am led to believe, with the help of academic input, such as our article.”
The article includes a description of ECT, in which electrodes are placed on the patient’s temples, after which a rapid burst of electric current of 70 to 170 volts is meted out. The mechanism by which the electricity “rearranges the brain cells” and provides relief to psychiatric disease is not fully understood but it is often very effective, at least for a while. It can even prevent psychiatric symptoms.
Without putting the patient “under,” ECT is considered a form of “medical torture.”
Patients who have been subjected to it without general anesthesia have reportedly suffered much more anxiety and trauma than they had before.
The authors show that “reversible electrical stunning,” very commonly employed in commercial abattoirs abroad, is very similar to ECT given without general anesthetic. Stunned animals behave as if they had an epileptic seizure, their bodies rigid with muscle contraction.
But it is reversible stunning, and they do not all lose consciousness.
The amount of voltages varies according to the type of animal, techniques used and the individual creature’s size and behavior. The animals going to slaughter can thus regain consciousness and then face the knife that will kill them.
Stunning a chicken, they write, is more problematic than in cows, sheep or other animals.
A common stunning method for poultry is to give them an “electrical water bath through the birds to the metal shackle.”
Every component must be adjusted perfectly to ensure a proper stun. There has to be a solid electrical ground, water height must perfectly match the bird size, and there must be some form of isolation at the beginning to pressure pre-stun electrical shocks.
In practice, the authors write, these conditions are often not met. The stunning process can also cause blood blemishes on the meat, broken bones and painful muscle contractions in the birds, which can still sense what is happening.
Bet Shemesh might end up saving Europe... Who would have thought....

Rav Brand Says To Vote Feiglin (video)

Rav Brand Says To Vote Feiglin

The Problem Of Migron (video)

The Problem Of Migron

Feiglin: The Geula Process Is Not On Auto-Pilot (video)

Feiglin: The Geula Process Is Not On Auto-Pilot

Jan 25, 2012

Secular Reporters Dressed As Haredi To Investigate How Secular Treat Haredi (video)

Secular Reporters Dressed As Haredi To Investigate How Secular Treat Haredi

The haredi media has been full of reports recently of attacks by secular on haredim, along with general worsening treatment of haredim by the secular. Haredi MKs have made such claims in the Knesset. Haredi media have established hotlines where people could report incidents.

Two secular journalists, Ravib Druker and Miki Rosental, dressed up as haredim, and took a haredi fellow as a consultant of how to behave and dress so they would not be spotted. They planned to walk through a secular area as haredim and see how they would be treated. They tried to rent a house, join a gym, ride local bus lines and tracked how people would react and treat them.

Obviously this is not a scientific study, but it is interesting. Watch and see the results of their experience (in Hebrew).

Mashiach Is Not Welcome In RBS B

Natalie Mashiach's Assaulted Car
I had a chance encounter, that is as much as any encounter can be marked as chance, with Natalie Mashiach yesterday, shortly after she was nearly lynched in RBS B. I was in Shlomo Sixt car rental agency in RBS A, when in walks a woman escorted by police. She is crying and worked up. She had just been attacked while working in RBS B hanging signs. The police brought her to Shlomo Sixt, while someone else had stayed behind with the car, because the car belonged to Shlomo Sixt and they were working out the procedures for towing, repairing, evidence and whatever else is involved.

While she was there, she told us, by "us" I mean everyone in the office - me and the clerks who were helping - what had happened. She was emotional and crying.

I did not write about it yesterday because I was so angry that I could not write about it without painting a broad brush and write things I would later regret. After thinking about it for a long time, and being part of many discussions about what happened, I must say that I did not witness the incident itself. I met her shortly after the incident happened, and I heard part of the story from her, but I still know the details mostly from the media like everyone else.

Some have said she was there to provoke. I don't believe it. I spoke with her. She was not dressed provocatively, though she was wearing pants. What was she doing there? Just her presence - she should have known not to go there - well, she told me that she has been hanging up signs all over Bet Shemesh, including in that exact location, for 5 years already! She had absolutely no reason to think that after doing this for so long in that same exact spot that it would suddenly be a problem. You can hear her talk in an interview where she describes how she works with haredim and deals regularly with them and no problem has ever come up before this.

Natalie Mashiach
As well, I find it ridiculous to call her a provocateur. She is a traditional Sefardic woman. She is not a secular atheist who is anti-religious. For the most part, to generalize, the traditional sefardim have more faith than even the most devout religious ashkenazim. This woman, Natalie Mashiach is not, or at least was not, anti-religious.

While some give lip-service to condemnations of violence, they also, at the same time, offer excuses. She was there provoking. Violence of the two sides. If they really condemned the violence they would not be looking for excuses to explain the behavior. Just condemn the violence.

This is not a haredi issue, it is not a dati leumi issue, and it is not a secular issue. This is a Bet Shemesh issue. Bet Shemesh, the people of Bet Shemesh, the elected officials of Bet Shemesh and the police of Bet Shemesh all together, has to solve this problem.

This is also a national problem. While it is happening in Bet Shemesh, it is also happening in Jerusalem. It is also starting to happen in other places, such as Elad and Modiin Ilit, they are fighting in Rehovot about similar issues and it continues to spread.

Locally, all good people of Bet Shemesh need to put an end to this, and nationally it must be dealt with as well, with support and activism at the highest levels. This is not a gang of teenagers, and that 50 people can stand around and watch 6 hooligans attack a defenseless woman and not try to stop it is unacceptable.

I have no idea how close or distant Mashiach's arrival is, but I do know that incidents like what happened yesterday in RBS B show that Mashiach is just not welcome in some places.

Soldier refuses To Jump, For Religious Reasons

If you thought the issue in the army between religious male soldiers and female soldiers ended in parties and ceremonies where a female soldier would be singing, and how important is it that they cannot exempt him, for religious and ideological reasons, from a problematic situation, then we must think again.

According to this Haaretz report, a male religious soldier refused to jump because the parachuting instructor was female. Not knowing too many details, such as why the army didn't give him a male instructor, which according to the article is something any soldier can request, it is difficult to know what actually happened.

I find it strange that a community, the dati leumi community, that has waved the banner of being the bridge between the secular and the religious, the community that is proud to join and embrace the outside world and find solutions to deal with "problems" rather than avoid such situations, would be at the crux of this issue, and especially dealing with it in such a manner.

It clearly is not going to be limited to the issue of women singing. The solution to the issue will not be exempt religious soldiers from being at such ceremonies. This is going to affect the entire army, as more soldiers join the trend of backing out of even necessary activities, necessary by all counts, to avoid coming into contact, even without necessarily physical contact, with females.

The Miracle Of Oil And The Hummus Plate (video)

The Miracle Of Oil And The Hummus Plate

A funny look at leftists..

Birth of Boy in Tractor Ambulance in Old City Jerusalem (video)

Birth of Boy in Tractor Ambulance in Old City Jerusalem

This story is a few years old, but I only just saw it now.

The history of Israel's Mossad YouTube on Geraldo At Large (video)

The history of Israel's Mossad YouTube on Geraldo At Large

Jan 24, 2012

Interesting Psak From Rav Elyashiv: Torah Scroll and Zuto Shel Yam

An interesting question was raised by the leaders of a community from Baltimore visiting Rav Asher Weiss on Ramot.

They showed Rav Weiss a Torah scroll that had survived the war, World War II and the Holocaust, and they wanted to use it in their shul in Baltimore. The question they asked is if using such a torah, as they never received permission from the original owners or the original community whom had, presumably, been wiped out by the Nazis, might be considered stealing.

Rav Weiss did some research and supposedly responded that there is no problem for them to use it. Rav Weiss then went to Rav Elyashiv and discussed the issue with him. Rav Elyashiv paskened that there is nothign wrong with using this Torah scroll, as it is considered having been saved from "zuto shel yam" - it is like it was washed out to sea by the waves. (source: Anashnews)
The halacha of "zuto shel yam" is that such an object is considered hefker, as the original owners had automatically given up hope of ever retrieving it.

Considering how ill Rav Elyashiv is, and has been recently, this discussion and psak must have happened a while back.

A Satirical Look At What Happens When A Haredi Man Sneezes (video)

A Satirical Look At What Happens When A Haredi Man Sneezes

The video seems pretty obvious, showing the secular surroundings like the Wild West, with violence and crime, while the policeman dozes. When the haredi fellow sneezes, the policeman grabs and arrests him and calls in the troops for backup.

It is a sad look at society - both that people look at society and see it functioning like that, and that, to a certain extent, there is a bit of truth to it.

Teenagers Deliver Babies In Ambulance From Bet Shemesh

In an unusual story, two 16 year old boys delivered a woman's twins when she went into labor on her way from Bet Shemesh to Jerusalem recently.

Births in ambulances are nothing unusual. The distance to Jerusalem is significant enough, especially when there is traffic, but not only, that not always can they get to the hospital in time. As the city continues to grow, it increases the need for a local hospital or birthing center.

So, the ambulance picks up the woman in labor, a mother of five kids already, with two on the way out. The paramedics in the ambulance, besides for the driver, were two teenage volunteers.

As they got to the Harel interchange, the ambulance had to pull over to deliver the babies. With the teenage volunteers regularly escorting expecting women to the hospital, this was the first time they would find themselves delivering a baby on the side of a road (or anywhere for that matter). To their credit, they rolled up their sleeves and did a fine job bringing those twins into the world. Mazal tov! And kol hakavod to these two volunteers, both for being volunteers and doing great work, and for staying calm and doing what needed to be done under difficult circumstances.

You can see more of the incidents details on Ynet..

A nice follow-up to the story is that the boys later went back to the hospital to pay a visit to the woman and her twins. The parents had bought a present for the MADA volunteers that had helped them, and also promised to invite them to the kids eventual bar and bat mitzvah parties. They also took the opportunity to view the incident as a bridging opportunity, considering the recent tensions between dati leumi (the community the teenagers are from) and haredi (the community the family is from) communities in Bet Shemesh.

As nice as the story is, I am surprised that there would be just two teenagers working the back of an ambulance and no adult volunteer along with them. As well, it highlights the need for a more local solution for giving birth.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky Saves The Grasshopper Miracle Wall

There is a famous story with Rav Chaim Kaniesky about how he never really knew what the "chagav" looked like - how to identify the kosher grasshopper described in the Torah. One time when he was learning the related gemara, suddenly a chagav showed up in his room. Rav Chaim inspected it, decided it met the criteria of the gemara and therefore is obviously the elusive chagav and the miraculous story of how the chagav appeared so Rav Chaim Kanievsky could understand the gemara that much better was retold.. I might have some the few details not 100% accurate, but that is the gist of the story of Rav Chaim Kanievsky's grasshopper miracle..

According to Kikar, Rav Chaim Kanievsky's apartment has been undergoing some renovations. According to the story, it seems unclear but it looks to me like this happened before the renovations began, Rav Chaim woke up from his sleep on a Friday night and looked at one of the walls. He told his family that he is worried that the wall, that wall was where the grasshopper miracle had occurred, would be knocked down.

And what's wrong with knocking down the wall?

Rav Chaim explained that a story had happened with the Chida that a miracle had happened on stairs near his house. A short while later the Chida wanted to cover the stairs with gold as a sign. Marking the place of the miracle in such a fashion would strengthen other Jews in their faith. Therefore, Rav Chaim said, it is very important that the wall upon which the grasshopper miracle had occurred should remain intact.

Interesting story.

Newt Gingrich - I'll Help Israel Attack Iran (video)

Newt Gingrich - I'll Help Israel Attack Iran

Newt Gingrich On The Possibility Of A Muslim President (video)

Newt Gingrich On The Possibility Of A Muslim President

Newt Gingrinch has upset Muslim groups in the USA with this statement. I don't get why they call him anti-Muslim for what he says here (I do not know if he is or is not - I just do not see it in this statement). I see nothing anti-Muslim about supporting a Muslim-American to run for president as long as he rejects the adoption of Sharia law into the US court system.

Netanyahu Marks International Holocaust Victims Day (video)

Netanyahu Marks International Holocaust Victims Day

Jan 23, 2012

Interesting Posts #350

Interesting Posts #350

1. My Own Personal Avodah Zara

2. Who Wants To Leave Egypt?

3. Synagogue Members: Supporters and Directors

4. Full Rainbow Over Bet Shemesh

5. Timna Park

6. Let's All Break The Law

7. the 10 best Museums In Tel Aviv

8. Golan Heights Six Day War

9. 5 More Incredible Technologies Used By The IDF

10. Why Pick On Tzniyus

11. Fighting Yesterdays Battles - A View From The Bet Shemesh Front Lines

AMI Sells Magazines With Cholov Yisrael

This post was co-written by myself and Baruch Kelman

AMI magazine ran an article in this past week's edition about how changes in the marketplace have affected the allowance to eat cholov stam milk and milk products.

The cover title on the cover of the edition reads "Why Cholov Yisrael Is Now A Must".

Nothing in the article leaves any, not even close to a, compelling reason why cholov yisrael is a must. It offers logical arguments, and presentation of some new processes, but the author does not make any case of why the allowance for cholov stam can no longer be relied upon. The author does not even try to make that case.

An email sent to the author of the article confirmed that that was not his intention, and it was the magazine editors who chose the title. The title, deceiving as it is, is beneath any decent magazine.

Personally, I do not feel the issue of cholov yisroel is a major issue to be discussed today. People eat cholov stam as a given, and that is not about to change. All major kashrus organizations in the USA authorize cholov stam, and that is not about to change. I have not even heard anybody seriously discuss the issue in many years. People who do not want to rely on it, simply take that upon themselves.

Baruch writes, I think most of the article is old saw and the title was very deceitful. All the major kashrus organization still allow non cholov Yisroel and will continue to do so. I am very disappointed in your magazine -  this will not be the first time that you write things that are questionable. I would expect more from a magazine that wants to attract the torah community. Apparently AMI enjoys all the publicity they are getting, though whenever the heat gets too hot they decide that they are not printing any letters. To their credit they were the only weekly who chose to write about Rav Ahron Soloveichik, though they wrote that he was "an engima" which I dont think is very respectful.

Personally, no matter how many people write articles about how things have changed, people are still going to rely on cholov stam, because they want to. None of the authors, no matter how good their logic is, can stand up to a widely accepted hetter given by Rav Moshe Feinstein (among others). Anybody saying otherwise and expecting the masses to follow is just wasting his time and efforts. And for the magazine to present that as the discussion and then not follow through makes their motives questionable. Good titles sell magazines, but the article behind it should always follow through with what the title promised.

Discriminating Against The Dead

It looks like the Haredi city of Harish will be built. That decision has been passed already and continues to be supported. Cities, though, do not just get built overnight. They require a lot of planning.

At a planning meeting of the region, under discussion was the allocation of land for a cemetery. An engineer of the local council stated her opposition, saying that there is no way they will allow the haredi residents of Harish to be buried next to them (i.e. the current dead residents of the area). She explained that it is illogical that people who do not serve in the army should be buried near a monument in memory of fallen soldiers (from the border patrol divisions). (source: Hamevaser via Kikar)

As an aside, I wonder if she would allow any haredim who did serve in the army to be buried there...

Obviously, such a discriminatory statement must be rejected.

On the other hand, I do not know why the haredim care so much (Hamevasser made a big deal out of it, and involved haredi councilmen to fight it) - haredim do not want to get buried near secular/irreligious/less religious people/mechalelei shabbos anyway. They have always wanted separate burial sections away from the general public, and whenever they can they work to that effect.

I guess I can say it is worth fighting over the principle of the discrimination. It will just look funny a few years down the road when they will have more clout and large enough numbers and they will want their own section for only the dead of the haredi community...

Does Feiglin Make A Stronger Likud Or A Weaker Likud?

I support the Likud, and I support Moshe Feiglin. Whether or not he will ever garner enough support to actually become the head of the Likud is besides the point. For me, at least. I believe that a strong opposition with the Likud is good for the Likud. Just like a strong opposition is good for the government, and good for any leading body, as I believe it helps keep that body in check, keeps them honest, makes them enhance their own positions and actions, so too it is good for the Likud. Even if Moshe Feiglin would never actualize his goals, and I do not know if he will or will not, I believe Moshe Feiglin is good for the Likud, and thereby good for Israel (as the Likud is the ruling party in Israel).

That being said, I am always willing to entertain the arguments that Feiglin should not be in the Likud. What is even more interesting than the argument of Feiglin moving to Ichud Leumi to be more successful, is the following tidbit.

Srugim has published a letter distributed by a group called Hamateh HaYehudi HaLeumi - the Jewish Nationalist Branch - regarding the upcoming Likud primaries. The director of this group talks about how he has supported Netanyahu due to his great abilities, blah blah blah.

When he gets to discussing Feiglin's candidacy, he presents an unusual argument. He says Feiglin and his group cause tremendous harm to the national camp and to Israel because every vote that is given to Feiglin in the internal Likud elections sends 1000 votes away from the Likud [in the general elections] and moves them to the political left. He says that Feiglin being in the Likud chases votes away. Even with him not as leader of the party.

He is so against Feiglin that even though he says he no longer supports Netanyahu due to his treatment of today's pioneers (referring to the settlers, and those in the outposts), he will not support Feiglin either. he calls on people to not vote Netanyahu in the upcoming primaries, but to vote a protest vote with an empty ballot.

Do not vote Netanyahu, but do not vote for his opponent either.

I am far from convinced that he is right, but it is a unique argument.

The Next President of Israel

In a shocking turn of events, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been raising the possibility of promoting and supporting Stanley Fisher, currently president of the Bank of Israel, as the next President of Israel when Shimon Peres will finish his term in 2014.

This is a blow to Speaker of the Knesset Ruby Rivlin who ran against Peres last time and was looking for widespread support for his future candidacy in the upcoming selection for president. Netanyahu promoting an alternate candidate is a big blow.

I do not think Fisher is the right man for the job, at this time. As great as he is as an economist, and perhaps in his demeanor and wisdom, he simply has not been part of Israel for long enough. Can he really know Israel well enough in the short time he has been here that he could represent Israel at that level? Personally, and I like Fisher a lot, I doubt it, and I do not consider it a good move.

100% Electric Cars get on the Israeli Roads (video)

100% Electric Cars get on the Israeli Roads

From the Escape from Morocco to a Brit Mila in Jerusalem (video)

From the Escape from Morocco to a Brit Mila in Jerusalem

Can Men & Women Just Be Friends? (video)

Can Men & Women Just Be Friends?

Friends or not, it is not an excuse to be rude and discriminating against women..

Jan 22, 2012

SHAS Taking Over Rabbanut, Ho Hum!

What a shock! The country is reeling (not really, but Shas is) at the revelation that Shas has been trying to take over the Rabbanut.

A high level member of SHAS has sent a letter to the State Comptroller detailing a plan by SHAS to take over the Rabbanut, and also revealing corruption. It seems this information, based upon which the Comptroller has said that he is now opening an investigation into the matter, makes Rav Ovadiah Yosef and family look very bad.

Supposedly the informant, though I don't know why he would, is one of Rav Ovadiah's sons, Rav Dovid Yosef, though he denies it.

Anyway, it seems that every person in the country could see that SHAS has been trying to take over the Rabbanut, though I do not see what is necessarily wrong with that as long as it is not done in a corrupt manner. The revelation here is nothing new except that it is an admission to a concerted effort, rather than just a natural process.

It is really a shame that this has to be happening right when one of Rav Ovadiah's sons discovers he has a serious case of cancer and the family should really be pulling together and supporting each other right now rather than fighting.

Is El Al At Fault For Someone Else Getting On The Plane Too Close To Shabbos?

This is a good example of why I was always taught by my parents not to fly on a Friday, why I always make sure when going somewhere on a Friday to leave enough padding time for emergencies, and why rabbonim have called many times for people to not travel too close to Shabbos.

According to the report on Kikar given by one of the religious passengers, a flight (El Al) from London to Tel Aviv was supposed to take off on Thursday afternoon. With an expected flight time of 4 hours, that should have presented no "Shabbos problems" for anybody. Due to a crazy storm the flight was delayed, delayed again, and delayed even more. Finally Friday mid-morning they got permission to take off. After yet more delays they eventually landed in Israel just 40 minutes to spare before sunset. With the plane still needing to taxi in, and get everybody off and through the airport, they got out just minutes before Shabbos began. That's not very helpful for people who do not plan on spending Shabbos at the airport itself.

So, El Al was not mechalel shabbos. Despite their best efforts at getting in early enough, they clearly were limited by circumstances beyond their control. Yet, according to the article, people are complaining about how El Al  mistreated them, didn't make them stay in London, risked causing chilul shabbos, left them stranded in the airport, etc.

All true, perhaps. I would not be so quick to lay the blame at El Al's door. I mean, after already 19 hours of delays was he so sure that there would be no more delays? People need to take responsibility. Besides for poor treatment (there are complaints about when food was served, etc that i dont care about), all these people knew they were getting on a flight that was already seriously delayed and was now going to be landing very close to Shabbos - any further delays would put them at risk. These adults got on the plane knowing that, and now are blaming others for letting them fly.

People need to be responsible for their decisions. El Al flew and landed before Shabbos. If someone felt their observance of Shabbos was going to be at risk they should not have gotten on the plane. As soon as they saw how close the already delayed flight would be getting them in, anybody concerned should have made alternate plans.

And don't travel so close to Shabbos!

A Haredi School Shows It Can Be Done

With all the bad news going on recently about discrimination, it is nice to read a report about a school with no discrimination. None at all.

A haredi girls school, a Beis Yaakov,  in Tel Zion is showing that it can be done.

According to the Ynet report:
Girls of Ethiopian, American, French, Russian, Moroccan and Mexican descent all study in the same classroom. This takes place in the Beit Yaakov ultra-Orthodox school in the community of Tel Zion, where one must not even mention the concept of racial discrimination.

The community is located near the West Bank city of Ramallah. These days, while we often hear of discrimination against members of the Ethiopian community and of haredi institutions restricting the number of Sephardic students, a place where Sephardic and Ashkenazi girls study together in harmony is a real beacon of light.

On the outside, the school looks like an ordinary haredi educational institution: Students wear a modest sky-colored school uniform, which includes a long dress, long socks and sleeves. The teachers dress modestly as well.

But unlike other institutions, which practice discrimination, this school's list of students includes names from all ends of the spectrum: Marciano and Atias alongside Mintzberg and Zelikovich.

In the reality of haredi education, this is not a trivial thing: According to procedures in many haredi schools and seminars for girls, Sephardic children cannot make up more than one-third of the students.

Two years ago, parents from the community of Emmanuel preferred to go to jail rather than have their daughters study alongside Sephardic girls.

"It's a principle here. The only parameter in admitting children to schools or kindergartens is their religious level," says Rabbi David Azoulay, chairman of the community committee.

"It's a beautiful ingathering of the exiles. There's no difference between one person and another. The words Sephardic and Ashkenazi have been erased from our lexicon."

"I feel like part of something historic in the haredi public, a real model of life together," says Eyal Reuven, whose two daughters study in the school. "There is a very high spiritual and educational level here, as well as huge education value the girls receive because of the friendship and interaction.

"My daughters learn different customs, different cultures, play with girls who speak Yiddish. It's enriching and fruitful. I'm proud to be living in such a place."
It can be done.

A Plea To Moshe Feiglin

A Guest Post by Yosef Symonds

I attended the recent Moshe Feiglin campaign rally in Jerusalem recently. It was a masterful production with representatives from different sectors of Israeli adorning the speakers’ platform, speeches many and well executed, catch-cries such as “Not to Fear” to chanting and song. As one attendee stated, it is the only political forum where she can come away not depressed. The organization of the evening was well oiled, with commitments, donations and pledges collected as naturally as synagogues do on Yom Kippur. The evening was a credit to Moshe’s dedicated supporters who use social media to good effect and show the fruits of a decade of political work as a sub-culture within the Likud.

I believe that anyone wanting to help in the struggle for a secure and non-repressive Jewish homeland should contribute to Moshe Feiglin and his group—no matter for whom they intend to vote in the National elections. The individual voter has so little say in Israel, given a party system which removes the MKs from responsibility to their constituency, that they should grab the opportunity to do a legal double-dip and join the Likud to participate in its primaries for 96 shekel/year. Anyone such as Moshe Feiglin who is serious about the security and future of the country should be supported if it does not detract from one’s primary efforts.

Having said the above, it is with much trepidation that I dare to pen some words of critique about a man of Moshe Feiglin’s stature. I do so in the hope that they will be received constructively, as is their intention. I came home from the rally and was nearly ready to cry. Here we had the only challenger to the Prime Minister for party leadership, promoting the cornerstone rally of his campaign, a huge hall draped all around with Likud banners and balloons—and not one Likud MK present! If a decade of hard and dedicated work is not enough to get any Likud MK to back him publicly against the incumbent Prime Minister, then it is time for Moshe to admit that the path to Knesset representation for him and his followers is not through the Likud. There is a limit to the number of years a CEO can return a company loss and remain in the position; a limit to the number of battles a general can lose and stay in command. This does not mean that Moshe Feiglin has not had considerable influence in the Likud, nor that he will not continue to. But it is not the type influence that translates into direct representation for himself and his followers. Netanyahu will be laughing all the way to the polls as the core Manhigut Yehudit supporters add their votes to the aggrandizement of Netanyahu himself and his party. No wonder so many true supporters of a Jewish Israel shy away from the Manhigut Yehudit agenda which includes voting for Likud. Moshe Feiglin has planted the seedlings of his ideas in the Likud, seen some sprouting, and maybe that is the total role he has to play there. In this electronic day and age, ideas can continue quite well without the physical presence of their author.

I plead with Moshe and his followers, please give your wonderful ideology a better and more rewarding airing. I have recently heard so many times people saying about you—“Join Ehud Leumi (National Union)”. I believe you have an excellent vision for the Jewish people, but are implementing that vision ineffectively. I support you to the extent I do because the need for unity amongst those who believe in Israel and the Jewish people is so desperate that we cannot afford not to. And you hold the key. You cannot afford to commit your vision to a path that many of us find completely unacceptable. It matters not how sharp and convincing your rhetoric might be. You must realize that there are many of us who find it not just irresponsible, but even a betrayal of our basic values to even consider voting for another party whose platform is to carve up our country to make way for another Arab state and consequently make our peace dependent on its goodwill.

Israel does not have the luxury of your solo performance. Stop turning the other cheek to your ignominious and cowardly treatment by the leaders of the Likud—it does not befit you. That is not Jewish leadership. We don’t want to hear your rhetoric about arithmetically, nay geometrically rising gains when you win 30% of the Likud leadership vote, or even 40%. It doesn’t translate into our voice. Extract yourself from the game playing of the Israeli public where so many play into the hands of the centralist media by not voting for their convictions because they believe it is more expedient to vote somewhere between their “enemy” party and the party whose platform they really believe in. Although one can concede the truth of your thesis that the Prime Minister will only ever come from one of the two largest parties (an almost axiomatic statement), the flaw is that the identity of the largest parties is not fixed. The dynamics and flux of the Israeli political environment over recent years is such that parties can come from nowhere to be one of, if not the largest overnight.

The country needs you to move your ideology to the National Union where your leadership and the logistical prowess of your followers will be appreciated, and will be rewarded by a pro-rata number of seats in the Knesset without big brother conniving to rob you of your rights. The National Union is not yet a major power. It needs you more than you need it, and even more do we, the citizens, need you there. Even the act of your joining would bring you publicity you will never get in the Likud. And remember, your hypothesis of real leadership and power coming only to one of the two major parties has been shown to be shaky in the dynamic world of modern Israeli politics. We have seen parties rise out of nothing to become one of the major parties overnight. Let your followers be true to their principles and vote for a party that, as it stands, will fight against the decimation of our country. By your logic, you could attach the name “Likud-in-Exile” to Manhigut Yehudit, since you are the bearers of true Likud principles today. Apply your acute insight and fertile imagination to what you could do in the freedom and independence of the National Union. The National Union sorely needs your coherent outlook and has a lot to learn from you. You need the National Union to add strength and independence to yourselves, but much more than that, Israel needs you desperately to forge a wider unity. And you can be thankful for the impact you have had on Likud and realize that the listening ears there will contain to listen to you.

Break the divide and rule technique of the Left by uniting with others of similar spirit who can’t vote against their conscience. I look forward to seeing you share the podium with the National Union in a truly national unity. And may it be very soon, because I am not sure we have time on our side.

Yosef Symonds
Ramat Beit Shemesh 
18 January 2012

Machon Meir Apologizes For Blurring Face Of Ruth Fogel hy"d

And if you thought the issue of "hadarat nashim", or the exclusion of women from the public sphere, was the problem only of the haredi community (and Arab, but it seems MK Yitzchak Herzog believes we can ignore it by the Arabs), it is time to think again.

Much has been said about the increasing trend toward extremism, and that extremism filtering down to the Dati Leumi communities as well, this happened pretty quickly, and that it happened despite the current backlash and general atmosphere surrounding the issue of hadarat nashim makes it almost unbelievable.

In the latest, Machon Meir, an organization somewhere between Dati Leumi and "Hardal", printed in their shabbos newsletter-parsha sheet an announcement of the upcoming memorial service for the five Fogel family members that were killed in Itamar. The article ran a picture of the victims, with the face of Ruth Fogel, the mother, blurred out.
the blurred picture of Ruthi Fogel
This upset many, and from what I saw it seems like there was an ad hoc campaign of many letters of complaint being sent to Machon Meir. Some were upset by the specific blurring, while some were even more upset by the notion that the need to blur is already filtering down from the haredi community down to the Dati Leumi community.

Machon Meir has apologized claiming a human error in the decision to blur the face. they said because this publication is meant to be read in shul they have had a policy of not including pictures of women.

I don't know if they have published pictures of women in the past or not. Maybe this is new policy, maybe it is old. If this is really their policy, they should have just left the picture out completely.

Either way, the problem of hadarat nashim is far more widespread than previously assumed, and is not limited to the haredi public alone. I have thought and said all along that the issue is far greater than just accusing the haredi public, and one can find examples of it throughout our society, if one were to only look. Our society, and I do not limit this to Israel alone, is very sexist. As much as we have advanced in equal rights and treatment of women, of minorities, of those who are needy and others who have been treated badly throughout history, we still have a long way to go. Blaming it on one specific community will not solve the problem.

Adler Apologizes For Suggesting Israel Assassinate President Obama

I was shocked to read about the latest idiocy. The Atlanta Jewish Times ran an opinion piece written by the owner/editor Andrew Adler, in which he suggested a number of options for how Israel should deal with the threats of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. One of the suggestions he mentioned was to assassinate Barak Obama.

The article is not available on the newspapers website, but it has been scanned and made available by the Gawker.

This obviously caused a ruckus. Adler has since apologized claiming he was just wondering what his readers reactions would be like, but he was not really recommending the assassination of the president.

Sometimes I wonder just how stupid a person can be.

Make Exclusion of Women Illegal

MK Yitzchak Herzog (LABOR) has proposed a law to put an end to the phenomenon of the exclusion of women form the public sphere.  The thing is that I don't know how it will work.

Herzog's law, if it were to pass, would bear a 5 year prison sentence and [up to?] a 300,000 NIS fine for anybody who effects or orders the exclusion of women from the public sphere.

I don't know how they expect to enforce this. Are they going to look at every advertisement and if any ad has only a male model on it they will fine the advertising agency or the company behind it? Will every ad be required to bear the image of two models, both male and female? That will increase costs of production, and will cause prices to rise, to cover the fees of the additional model.

The Ynet article says nothing about it, but according to INN's report another issue left unclear at this point is that the law might only be applied to religious Jews and not to Muslims. I am not sure why they feel the need to fight against the exclusion of women only by religious Jews and not by Muslims. If it is a societal problem, it should be banned from society completely, with the same enforcement and application throughout.

America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond (video)

America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond

This clip is being used, or is being prepared to being used, for the Barak Obama re-election campaign. Do you think it is a load of crock? I know that there has been a lot of good, but there has also been a lot of tension. This video only plays up the good things that have happened and makes it seem like none of the more stressful things ever happened..

IDF Paratroopers Practice Brigade Jump and Ground Attack (video)

IDF Paratroopers Practice Brigade Jump and Ground Attack

Israelis in Iran (video)

Israelis in Iran

This is a bit of a strange but humorous ad running for the cable tv company... for a bit of a translation you can click on the cc in the control bar of the youtube clip...

Jan 20, 2012

The Official "A Sem Girl Says" Video (video)

The Official "A Sem Girl Says" Video

One of the funniest "frum" things to happen on twitter and facebook recently is the existence of the "A Sem Girl Says" account, posting crazy things overheard from the mouths of sem girls. the people behind the accounts say that all these things were really said by sem girls and overheard.

And now they have made a video...

Jan 19, 2012

Playing With The Blood Of Erlikhe Jews

An Anonymous Guest Post

Attached find yesterday's copy of "Dvar Yom Be'yomo" - a daily paper of simchos and classified ads, distributed daily in Williamsburg shuls and groceries.

Here's my translation (everything is sic. This is a literal trans.):

Residents of Williamsburg, brothers in opinion:
Being that recently some began to sell in our town the "Ami" magazine which spreads rotten views (hashkafot) of Haskalah and Zionism, and particularly, recently they went a step forward to defame the erlikhe (pious) Jews in Israel who endure bitter persecution and arrests from the Zionists hitters and police, and instead of writing about the inhuman persecution of religion in our Holy Land they chose to legitimize all the cruelty by over blowing alleged "extreme acts" committed by the oppressed ehrlikhe (-pious) Jews - which only came as a result of a long chain of persecuting religion - as if these acts are retroactively the cause of the vast hate of religion by the Zionists,

In the same time that outspoken Zionist leaders and parties are written up there with the nicest colors as if they, with extremism have no connection...

People (Rabosai)! We can't remain quiet when this hazardous magazine is playing with the blood of ehrlikhe (pious) Jews who fight the fight of God in Israel.

Demand from your grocer to take out this magazine and make it clear to him that you wouldn't want to buy in a store that is hurting you feelings and helps defame your ehrlikhe (pious) hashkafot (views) with loathly incitement.

Such magazines were never sold among us and we're asking not to break the boundaries that our forefathers erected.
Remember! "A customer has the strongest power!"
Here is the place to thank the over 20 groceries! Taking into account their customers feelings they don't take in anymore this magazine/pashkevill in their stores!

What Tel Aviv Can Learn From Jerusalem

Here is an interesting look at what Tel Aviv can learn from Jerusalem... 

PSA: Dr Pelcovitz coming to Beit Shemesh

Reminder - this event is tonight

Dr David Pelcovitz, renowned psychologist, author, and inspirational speaker, will be speaking in Beit Shemesh, and Rabbi Yakov Horowitz  will be joining us by Video-Link, on Thursday 19th January, 2012, commencing at 8pm, at the RBS Matnas on Nahal Dolev.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber, Rabbi of Kehilas Shivtei Yeshurun in RBS, Founder of Torah Lab, will open the The Second Annual "Awareness Evening" organized by "Magen", the Beit Shemesh Child Protection Organization, with Divrei Bracha.

Dr Pelcovitz will be the Keynote Speaker on the subject of "Guide to All Parents: Protecting Our Kids".

Rabbi Yakov ("Yanki") Horowitz, Founder of Project YES and Founder/Director of Darchei Noam Yeshiva in Monsey, will be  talking about Child Safety in the Community, joining us live by Video Link.

There will be an opportunity after the formal event for individuals to ask questions to Dr Pelcovitz and other child abuse experts.

A year ago, Dr Pelcovitz also spoke for Magen, and addressed a packed crowd - a moving, passionate and highly educational evening.

Magen can affirm that, specifically due to that presentation, several local children were saved from abusers.

The whole community is warmly invited to this important event - Please book the date in your diary!

*** 19th January, 8pm, at the Ramat Beit Shemesh Matnas, Nahal Dolev, RBS ***.

Recommended Donation at the Door - 20 NIS. (No one will be turned away through inability to pay).

For further information please contact: MagenProtects@gmail.com
Tel: 02 9997026
Cell: 050 8489001

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