Blogs

Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.


  • The new Zionist weapon: giant, indestructable rats

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 18, 2008

    Palestine Today reveals the latest Zionist weapon, which they allege is being used against Jerusalem's Arab population: rats.

    Rats have become a weapon used by new Israeli colonizers against citizens in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, in order to displace and expel them from their homes.

    Districts in the old part of town are suffering and facing recently this new type of Israeli actions that aim to harass Jerusalemites in order to force them to leave...

  • A Chassidic rebel goes public

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 17, 2008

    The cover story in New York magazine this week is a must-read. It features Gitty Grunwald, a Satmar Chassid who lost religion, left her husband, and is now fighting her former spouse for custody of their daughter, Esther Miriam, 4:

    In early 2007, Gitty fled Kiryas Joel for good, taking Esther Miriam with her. At first, they lived in the relatively relaxed frum (Orthodox) community of Monsey, New York, then moved to Brooklyn. “It was just the two of us. I loved it,” Gitty says. Then in January of this year, as Esther Miriam was walked with her class to a Flatbush playground, she was taken, says Gitty, who believes her husband was behind the act.

    “Some KJ guys snatched her off the street. Esther Miriam said they were wearing masks. All she remembers was crying, crying so hard,” Gitty says, calling it the worst day of her life. “When they told me what happened, I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was being suffocated. I still do.”

  • US diplomatic overtures to Iran are good news

    Daniella Peled
    Jul 17, 2008

    A great scoop in the Guardian today about US diplomatic overtures to Iran. This kind of American engagement is good news.

    Washington is to set up a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in three decades, and US undersecretary of state for political affairs William Burns is to attend international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme. Israel is concerned over these moves, fearing that it marks a fatal weakening of the US position – no negotiations before Iran stops uranium enrichment. The US in turn insists that Burns presence at the talks is on one-off gesture, a test to see whether the Iranians are really prepared to engage.

    But this is a vastly symbolic move. For all the US caveats, it signals a reversal of a long-held strategy. And it can only strengthen an international coalition aimed at derailing Iranian ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons. The whole “Axis of Evil” nonsense made for a great soundbite, but a flimsy foreign policy.

  • Israel's POWs - as they were in life

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 17, 2008

    Israel's Channel two is carrying a video of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev's miluim (reserve duty) unit in 2004. The two men, who were buried today, pop up occasionally, smiling naturally at the camera and even flirting with it.

    For those of you who understand Hebrew, but even if you don't, perhaps there is no more appropriate time to take a moment and remember these two fallen soldiers - as they were in life.

    (Via)

  • Why were the terms of the POW agreement not clear in advance?

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 16, 2008

    Many have contended that the POW deal with Hizbollah is bad for Israel. Not only does it reward and encourage terrorism and kidnap, but Israel has – yet again – given up far more than it has received in return. Is 199 bodies and five live men in exchange for two bodies a good strategic move? And should Israel really have given up its most important bargaining chip, the murderer Samir Kuntar, without even getting any definite information on Ron Arad’s fate?

    But just as important a question is why Israel gave up so much – when it was unclear what it was getting in return. Although Israel was fairly sure that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were dead, until the black coffins were passed over the border (and the identity of the bodies was confirmed, hours later) it was not certain. There was no definite proof, such as pictures of the bodies; the IDF rabbi had not declared them fallen soldiers; and the families still had reason to express a (faint) hope that the men might be alive.

    As The Jerusalem Post’s Calev Ben-David argues, keeping Israel in the dark as to the two kidnapped soldiers’ fate was a deliberate tactic for Hizbollah. For Israel to agree to any kind of deal without establishing and clarifying its exact terms in advance is strange negotiation. 

  • A Win for Hizbollah

    Daniella Peled
    Jul 16, 2008

    Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is a brilliant media manipulator. He managed to convince Lebanon and the wider Arab world that his group won a divine victory over Israel in the 2006 war, although in truth it was more a case of Israel losing than anyone winning.

  • Abu Mazen congratulates the family of Samir Kuntar

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 16, 2008

    According to Israeli radio (Reshet Bet), Palestinian President Abu Mazen has passed his personal blessings to the family of Samir Kuntar - the Lebanese terrorist who shot Danny Haran and drowned him in front of his 4-year-old daughter, then smashed her head against a rock until she was dead, and who will be released later today as part of the prisoner swap with Hizbollah.

  • Another week, another scandal

    Daniella Peled
    Jul 14, 2008

    Oh dear. Another week, and another corruption scandal for Ehud Olmert, still managing to drag out his inevitable political demise beyond all reasonable expectations. Now he is suspected of having double-billed for foreign trips as Jerusalem mayor and later as a government minister, using the money to fund his own family holidays. What makes a high-flying, ambitious politician potentially do something not only so low, but frankly so stupid? One can only imagine that it must be greed, arrogance - and confidence that the Israeli political system would let him get away with it.

  • Divorces increase in the Orthodox community

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 11, 2008

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the Orthodox 'Shidduch crisis', in America at least, has turned into a 'post-Shidduch crisis':

    The only thing worse than being an "older single" male, it seems, is being a 25-year-old divorcé with two children. It is women, though, who are usually more stigmatized by a split.

    "We're seeing more and more recently married, young Orthodox Jews getting divorced," says Mr. Salamon, who estimates that the divorce rate among the Orthodox has risen to an alarming 30% in the past five to 10 years. (Hard data are difficult to come by, Mr. Salamon says, because the Orthodox shun research studies for fear of harming their own or their children's shidduchim.)

  • Iran fakes pictures of its missile launch

    Miriam Shaviv
    Jul 11, 2008

    The Iranians have been busted by the New York Times for digitally manipulating an image of the missile test which so alarmed the rest of the world this week.

    Sepah News, the the media arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, distributed a picture of four missiles being fired into the sky on Wednesday. The photo was reproduced by, amongst others, The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune, MSNBC, Yahoo! News, NYTimes.com and our very own BBC News.

    Except it turns out that one of the missile images was, in fact, an amalgamation of two of the others, and was strategically placed in the picture in order to cover up a missile which had misfired.