- 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.
- 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.
UPDATE: Shlomo Avineri, in Ha'aretz on Thursday, makes the same point.
- 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.
And this is the "moderate" Palestinian leader.
- 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.)
Surely when a third of marriages are breaking down, this calls for an overhaul of the entire system?
- Jul 11, 2008
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.
What is particularly striking is the amateur level of the cover-up. Just like Adnan Hajj's fake images of Israeli strikes on Beirut during the Second Lebanon War, distributed by Reuters, the alterations seem to involve nothing more than a simple cut-and-paste job. The repeated sections in the picture are very obvious to anyone taking a second glance.
Still, it's hard to be too smug about Iranian incompetence when dozens of senior Western journalists, in the best papers, apparently fell for the scam.
- Jul 10, 2008
A few months ago I wrote about how "modesty has moved from being about modest clothing to being about keeping women, and images of women, away from men."
Here's the latest example. A historic picture of the great sage, the Chafetz Chaim, sitting in front of a building with two women standing behind him has had the women in the photo removed. Admittedly, I don't know when the Photoshopping took place, but the doctored pic was sent out recently by an American yeshivah as part of its fundraising efforts.
Surely, if the Chafetz Chaim didn't mind the women milling around him, it shouldn't be a problem for us to see a fuzzy picture of the event? Or are we 'frummer' than the Chafetz Chaim nowdays?
- Jul 10, 2008
Shuls in New York are raising their fees, levying special 'fuel taxes' and consolidating events in order to compensate for rising oil and natural gas costs. In some cases, this means congregants paying an additional $150-$200 - which is a lot to tack onto a shul membership bill.
How long before this starts happening in UK synagogues?
- Jul 4, 2008
Al Jazeera English is clearly falling out of favour with some Muslims - because it is too "pro-Israeli". A blogger on the website of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee complains that the coverage of the terror attack in Jerusalem on Wednesday was completely unbalanced:
You need to see the TV coverage to understand my sentiments in full; I was genuinely sad about the needless loss of human life - three Israeli civilians dead and dozens injured. However, as I watched the coverage I became shocked at the pro-Israel bias, which included an interview with a representative of the Jerusalem Post.
No such coverage was afforded to any Palestinian representative to negate the accusations of Palestinian ‘terrorism' nor did they provide any reference for contextual purposes, to the hundreds of Palestinians that have been killed since the start of the year.
What's more, she is very angry at the short shrift she is given when she phones the station to complain:
The initial point of contact listened courteously, acknowledged my comments and then put me through to someone who I understand has some editorial control. She was rude, abrupt and downright aggressive. She barked "Give me a break, lady" and said they were still working on the story as it was breaking news... This ‘editor' then advised me that they were showing pictures of the Palestinian's home and interviewing his family in later broadcasts. After a minute or two, she told me she couldn't spend hours talking to me as she had to work on the next bulletin and sarcastically said goodbye and hung up!! Clearly not Al Jazeera's greatest Public Relations asset. What a disgrace!!
A reader further down the page has commented, "I've heard a reliable source has said Al Jazeera International (not Arab one) has some zionist ownership". Those Zionists really do control the world.......
- Jul 3, 2008
Manchester reader Ya'akov Wise sends us the following update:
A former Manchester woman was on the number 13 bus in Jerusalem at noon on Wednesday and was saved because she did not want to embarrass a smelly tramp who was sitting next to her. Corinne Silver, formerly of Tewkesbury Drive Prestwich and a part-time employee of the Manchester Beth Din, left the bus two stops before an Arab worker drove his bulldozer into it and overturning it.
Mrs Silver who now works as a house mother at a seminary for girls near Jerusalem said: "I went to Jerusalem and after seeing my son Yosef got the number 13 bus from his office towards the central bus station. The bus was full but eventually I got a seat and then, a really smelly tramp came and sat next to me, the smell was overwhelming and I decided, 'ha just what I need...'
As the bus went up Rehov Yaffo the overwhelming smell pushed me towards the door and I got off the bus... less than a minute later an Arab terrorist driving a bulldozer charged into a crowd of pedestrians, rammed the bus killed 3 people and injuring many more ... As I stood there I thanked Hashem for sending me a smelly bus companion.
But what happened to the man who saved her life??
- Jul 3, 2008
Sacha Baron-Cohen, now "disguised" as a German rock star, has been set loose on the Middle East... and respected analyst Yossi Alpher still doesn't quite get (or appreciate) the joke.